Sunday, April 19, 2020

Smoke Wagon Desert Jewel Reserve 10 Year Straight Bourbon

- $80
- 104 Proof
- 10 Years
- Nevada / Indiana

I previously wrote on the release of the Smoke Wagon products into Illinois markets. I knew I wanted to get my hands on some, figuring I'd get around to trying the straight bourbon, the small batch and hopefully the cask strength. In fact, when they made their way here, I didn't even realize that a 10-year product was among the offerings.

However, thanks to a good friend who happens to work at a liquor store and who gave me a head's up on its release, I was able to get my hands on the Desert Jewel Reserve from Smoke Wagon, a 10-year MGP product, from a "hand selected" 35 barrel batch.  Of course I was excited to get my hands on a bottle, and I have to say, I do love the packaging that Smoke Wagon is putting their bourbon in. I dig the detailing in the glass as well as the wax stamp and the simplistic label.

The nose gave off a bit of its age, providing some wood notes and a decent amount of cinnamon spice. I also got a sweet caramel note. At times I thought I was getting bright orange notes. However, what seemed to stand out more were notes of Cabernet and amaretto, providing a rich, fruit-forward aroma that was not only rich, but had a certain tangy quality, too.  On the final few pours, I really seemed to notice the wood notes more.

The first thing I noticed when I took my first sip was the amount of sweet caramel flavor. It was pretty much all I was getting. I did get some cinnamon and pepper spice right up front, which I really noticed right on the tip of my tongue.

As I made my way through pour after pour, I started to get a lot of brown sugar, as well as baking spices and bread notes. It really was just about everything that I look for in a bourbon, taking all those great bakery spices and putting them into the flavor of this whiskey.

On the back end I got a really nice cinnamon and pepper spice, which I seemed to notice a lot more on later pours. I really noticed the spice on the sides of my tongue well after each swallow, and it caused me to salivate thinking of every next sip. I also got a light char note that only seemed to come out in later pours.

This was a delicious, rich and sweet bourbon that did an incredible job of not getting overly sweet. It was bottled at a great proof, allowing for a ton of flavor and character to come through, while still providing decent heat. I may never see this bottle again, but if I do, I'm not hesitating a second to grab it. This was delicious!

Grade: A

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