- 91 Proof
I do love seeing new bottles on the shelf. I'm at my go-to liquor store on a fairly regular basis, some weeks I swear it's daily. And every time, without fail, I make that walk down the whiskey aisle to see what new labels are looking back at me, even if I just did so the day before. Because every now and then something shows up unexpectedly, and I feel I need to give it a go. This was one such occasion.
While this was a new product on the shelf, it certainly wasn't a new distiller. I've enjoyed just about every Belle Meade product I've tried to date, so at least this new brand was familiar to me. Plus, coming in at only $30, it nearly begged me to at least give it a try. And who knows, perhaps I'd find myself with another bottle that I can claim as a go-to when drink options aren't plentiful.
Interestingly, the nose was far from traditional bourbon. In fact, I seemed to get notes more akin to an Irish whiskey than a bourbon or Tennessee whisky. I think that primarily came from the prominent notes of leather and sweet pipe tobacco. It still had some bourbon characteristics though, as I got notes of corn bread and honey as well. The corn notes seemed to really stand out, indicative of a young bourbon.
The first thing I noticed on my first sip was that this was certainly on the sweeter end of the spectrum. It had a cane-sugary sweetness to it that was, quite frankly, a bit off-putting. It did have a decent burn on the back end, not necessarily an ethanol burn, but more like a corn whiskey. In fact, even on the front end it had that grain-forward flavor, kind of like raw corn. There was a grassiness to it as well that seemed to underscore everything.
It seemingly lacked any wood or barrel influence, at least as far as imparting wood or char notes goes. I think that would have helped, as it came across as somewhat straight forward with sweet and heat and not a whole lot else.
The sweet character did seem to take on some complexity at least, as on different pours that sweetness seemed to take on different forms. At times it came across as sort of a cherry licorice, imparting that artificial cherry. I even got light notes of chocolate at time. On the last few pours, that sweetness seemed to come across as more of a cola note, maybe even root beer.
I wish I could say I found a new go-to for cheap bottles, but I can't. This was fine, but I think I'm reaching for other options at that price range. This was just too sweet for me, and I wish there was more going on beyond just sugary notes and grain-forward flavors.