- 110 Proof
- 5 years, 1 month
Backbone Bourbon first caught my attention when the first thing I saw of theirs on the shelf was a 15 year bourbon. I can't remember the source, whether it came from Tennessee or Indiana, and it wasn't on the shelf very long. I sure didn't get a bottle (I don't even remember the price), but a couple friends of mine tried it, and while the reviews weren't raving, the consensus was that it was pretty good.
I then saw this "Decade Down" Anniversary Edition on the shelf. At first I was excited. After all, given the name, I was under the misimpression that this was a cask strength, 10 year bourbon. However, when I turned the bottle over, I learned that wasn't the case, as it clearly states, albeit on the back label, that it was aged for 5 years and 6 months. But, it was, in fact, MGP whiskey. So, I nonetheless took a bottle home with me to try.
On the nose I got a healthy dose of cinnamon. That was accompanied by some dark chocolate as well as a light anise note. Altogether my initial impression was this had a rich and delicious aroma. It also had a sort of oatmeal cookie note on the nose as well that provided a bit of sweetness to accompany those rich chocolate and cinnamon notes.
When I took my first sip, I was immediately surprised at the fact that the youth of this whiskey didn't come through at all. It had the kind of character, richness and complexity that you find in bourbons 10 years or older, and none of the rough edges or harsh, grain-forward flavors you get out of younger whiskeys. This was already a pleasant surprise.
I got a lot of rich, smooth caramel, like the good quality caramel you find in the middle of expensive chocolates, like Godiva, maybe. It also had a constant chocolate note, but not the dark chocolate I got on the nose. Rather this was more of a sweet and creamy milk chocolate. I even got some nougat flavor as well, and as I was jotting down my notes I realized I could have been describing a high-end version of a Milky Way. That's one of my favorite candy bars, so needless to say I was completely on board.
On the finish the cinnamon really came through, which was nice in that it kept this bourbon from ever getting to be too sweet. It had a somewhat oily texture that coated my mouth in chocolate and cinnamon, and it seemed to stick around for quite some time. It was on the finish that I also got some unsweetened vanilla notes (perhaps from the nougat I got up front).
Going in, I honestly wasn't expecting a lot from this, and this is one of the more positively surprising whiskeys I've had in recent memory. I genuinely liked this. A lot, actually. It ended up being the bottle that I just kept grabbing off the shelf until it was gone, simply because I knew it was delicious and I just wanted more. It really hit a lot of the right spots for me. While the price may be a little high, I've seen far worse for far inferior products.