- 110 Proof
- 10 1/2 yrs.
- Release No. 20
I've said it before and I'll say it again -- I love free whiskey!! This bottle was a Christmas gift from an extremely generous colleague. What I loved about it most is that it wasn't something that I had on my radar. I wasn't out there actively trying to secure a bottle, certainly, and I honestly didn't even know to ask.
But, once I received it I was thrilled! I had a much earlier version, sort of, back in 2017, the Abraham Bowman Gingerbread Cocoa Finished Bourbon, and it's funny looking back at that post. I stated that while it was a fun experiment, it wasn't something I'd be seeking out. I guess that was the truth. That said, it's been four years, and I couldn't wait to try this one again. I figure it was more likely to get better than worse, right?
On the nose I noticed the gingerbread stout almost immediately. It had that distinct bready note, even with a little bit of yeast, along with notes of baking chocolate and espresso. That roastiness really came through. It also had a bit of unsweetened vanilla to it, and it came across kind of like a cappuccino with cream. It was certainly interesting and much different than anything else I've had in a while.
In the first few pours, I really noticed a sharp bitterness right up front. It was both an oaky and a coffee-type bitterness. Behind that, though, I got that cocoa note that I was getting from the nose, but there some of the sweetness was able to come through to match the bitter notes. It was like an Oreo cookie without the cream filling.
What was great about this bottle, though, is as I made my way to the bottom of the bottle, each pour seemed to showcase the stout notes form the barrel more and more. I was getting a lot of brown butter notes, along with the cocoa and even a rich molasses note.
On the later pours I got a lot of amaretto notes that I absolutely loves. These went great with the chocolate notes that I was getting throughout, and which seemed to only sweeten up over time. It even took on some cherry licorice notes, which mixed with everything else to create almost a cherry cordial flavor.
At first I wasn't big on this bottle, as the bitterness was a bit overpowering. However, that bitterness subsided fairly quickly, and when it did this turned into this rich, roasty, chocolatey and yet never overly sweet whiskey. It was full of flavors, all of which seemed to complement one another, and it was a the same time different and interesting. This is clearly no experiment. A. Smith Bowman absolutely nailed this one, and I'm definitely going to be trying to track down future releases.