- 115.2 Proof
- 4 1/2 years
- Barrel No. FB092-2
This is the second private barrel pick I've grabbed from the Fox Valley Whiskey Society, the first being a Sonoma Distilling Rye. Admittedly, I was significantly more excited for this particular pick. I've pretty much loved everything coming out of Starlight Distillery. They've been in the distilling game longer than most people realize, and it shows in their product.
I tend to be more partial to their rye. It really hits all the right notes as far as what I like in a spicy and right rye. But, I've learned that I love their bourbons as well. So when the opportunity came for a privately selected barrel of their bourbon that was finished in cabernet sauvignon barrels, I was all for it! While I haven't really found a cabernet-finished bourbon yet that I've fallen in love with, I figured if there was one that might, it'd be this one.
As would be expected from a Cabernet finished bourbon, the nose was full of rich, dark fruit. I got notes of plum and fig, maybe even a bit of blueberry. However, the bourbon also really stood out, as the caramel and even a bit of vanilla shone through just as well, though without the usual sweetness.
However, the flavor was certainly sweeter than expected, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I've always found that Cabernet finishes could benefit from a bit more sweetness. Here, those fruit notes really provided that. I got a lot of blackberry on this one. Rather than the rich fig notes, this was a brighter, sweeter note.
I also got some blueberry notes and even a grape note. It had that jammy flavor, but without that overt sweetness that I always associate with that word "jammy."
Much like the nose, it had plenty of those toffee and caramel notes as well. I didn't get much vanilla, but that rich toffee, along with a light milk chocolate note, had the whole thing feeling like some sort of blackberry Heath bar, which isn't a thing but really should be.
On the finish I got a bit of a peppery spice--the only time that any spice really seemed to kick in. It also had a tannic note to it, which was okay given that the "jammy" notes seemed to be kicked up on the finish and needed that balance. Those sweet fruit notes came on strong on the finish, with the plum reappearing as well as a rich and sweet cherry pie filling note.
This was an adventure of a whiskey, and it was probably the best cabernet-finished bourbon I've ever had. It had just that little bit of added sweetness that I've found others lacking, and yet it never got too sweet, which I appreciated. This was an excellent pick by the Fox Valley Whiskey Society!