Saturday, March 13, 2021

Jeppson's Binny's Barrel Select Single Barrel Cask Strength Straight Bourbon Whiskey

- $32
- 124 Proof
- NAS (5.5 Years)
- Indiana

When CH Distillery in Chicago first released Jeppson's Bourbon, I, like so many others, was very hesitant to pick up a bottle for no other reason than that it looked like Malort. I'm not entirely certain what Malort is, but it's one of the worst things I've ever put in my mouth, and for some reason buying shots of the stuff is a bit of a Chicago tradition. And of course my simple mind told me if it looks like Malort, it must taste like Malort.

However, I did eventually pick up a bottle of the regular Jeppson's Bourbon, and I found it to be much better than expected.  So, when Binny's got in a round of cask strength picks, including barrels from Dickel and MGP, as well as a sherry finished, and only at $32, I figured I'd be a fool not to pick one up. Of course, I simply grabbed the oldest of the MGP picks (again, simple mind), figuring more age on an MGP product could only go right.

On the nose I got a lot of sweet, rich caramel along with a natural dark cherry flavor. It had light wood notes that was a bit unexpected given the age, along with a sort of unsweetened cocoa note which added some richness but also added some bitterness.

As to flavor, the first three notes I wrote down, not unlike the nose, were caramel, cherry and chocolate. It really came across as dessert-like, maybe even gourmet chocolate-like. It wasn't overly sweet by any stretch, but it was certainly that good, sweet MGP bourbon with just a bit of kick.

I know the word is somewhat forbidden, but this was very smooth, to the point that I would almost have described it as creamy. It had minimal burn and minimal harsh edges. The sweetness of the caramel was well rounded, and it was balanced out by the dark chocolate as well as a light smokiness that was unexpected but nonetheless very welcome.

That texture also provided for a very long finish. After each swallow my mouth and the back of my throat were coated in dark caramel notes. It was also on the finish where the spice really kicked in. While I would have preferred a bit more spice up front, this certainly made up for it. It was like a warm candy coating that was left behind, and it had my reaching very quickly for that next sip. 

All in all, I've had enough MGP bourbon at this point in my life to have a general understanding of what to expect in the flavor profile. I happen to enjoy that profile very much, and what I was most pleased about is how well this nailed that profile even at only five and a half years. I also enjoyed the slight twists of the prominent cherry note and the subtle smokiness to it.  Bottling this bourbon at cask strength was clearly the right move, and this was an absolute value at only $32!

Grade: B+

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