Saturday, March 28, 2020

Buffalo Trace Niche Restaurant Single Barrel Select "The Second Coming" Kentucky Straight Bourbon

- $30
- 90 Proof
- Kentucky

A few bourbon-related things have changed for me since the Coronavirus pandemic began, particularly once Illinois went on lockdown. I certainly find myself making these posts far more frequently. We are all, after all, on Vegas time, where time is a concept and it really doesn't matter when I pour my first drink.

Another thing that has come of this is restaurants selling their whiskey stocks to get through everything, or to raise money for their staff. We saw that the famous Jack Rose in Washington D.C. did this, and locally a couple restaurants near me have done something similar. Niche Restaurant in Geneva, Illinois is one such place. It also happens to be my favorite restaurant, as well as the best whiskey bar in the Fox Valley area. Needless to say, they get a lot of my business and certainly will continue to do so.

Niche manages to get a great allocation of the hard-to-find stuff, but more importantly, its owner, Vinny Balistreri, has made some private barrel picks that I have absolutely loved! He apparently has a palate that jives with mine, and when they posted that they are selling bottles of their private picks out the door, I jumped all over it, picking up an Eagle Rare, Elijah Craig and, of course, this Buffalo Trace (as well as muling a few bottles for my work buddies that I may or may not ever see again).

And thankfully the bottle did not disappoint!  The nose was full of caramel. However, it also had a touch of char to go with that sweetness and add a bit of an earthiness to it. I also got some light black pepper. However, the caramel was absolutely the star here. It smelled like rich, creamy salted caramel.

The flavor matched the nose as well. It was a "caramel bomb" as the kids like to say. If anything, it tasted even sweeter than it smelled. It still had that creamy richness to it, and it reminded me of dulce de leche. It very much was like a dessert whiskey in this respect, but man was it good.

Other notes came through as well, all which seemed to complement the caramel very well. I got a touch of milk chocolate, and there were even some distinct vanilla notes. It reminded me a bit of yellow cake as well.

The finish of course carried that sweet caramel theme through to the end, but it was on the finish that the barrel seemed to really come through, as I got a bit of oak at the end, almost to temper the dessert-like quality and provide a touch of earthy bitterness to balance everything out.

Grade: A

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