Saturday, February 19, 2022

Doc Swinson's Exploratory Cask L'esprit Straight Bourbon Finished in Cognac Casks

- $70
- 114 Proof
- Release No. 21-003
- Indiana

I wasn't sure when the next time I picked up a bottle of Doc Swinson's would be. I'm not casting aspersions or anything. I've only had one of their products before, their Triple Cask Bourbon Finished in Sherry & Cognac Casks. That was a somewhat weird experience, though, as I really enjoyed that bourbon up until the finish, at which point I didn't. That one literally and figuratively left a bad taste in my mouth.

But, when I saw this Cognac finished bourbon sitting on the shelf, I once again considered it, and in my cart it went.  What can I say, I'm a sucker for those Cognac and Armagnac finishes. As an added note, I looked at the back label and it had this note set off in red text: "Easy-Cracking Wax, Simply Twist to Open."  Had I not already made the decision to buy this bottle, that alone might have persuaded me. My interest was even further piqued!

I cracked this bottle open (yes, with just a simple twist of the wax top--why don't more brands have this?!?!), I got notes of raisin and brown sugar. It was like a rich dessert, perhaps even like baklava.  The nose was soft, but buried in there were also notes of orange and burnt sugar. On later pours I could swear I was getting waffle batter. 

The flavor was where this whisky shone. The texture was nice and viscous, really coating the mouth in flavor. More significantly, though, was that the alcohol burn was nowhere to be found. This was dangerously easy to drink, and it was all flavor. Right away I got rich candied pear and brown sugar, all on top of a healthy amount of vanilla.  Again, it was like a rich dessert in many ways, but it managed to never get too sweet.

It always kept some of those more savory qualities, at times reminding me of fig newtons or candied pecans, pairing a bit of earthiness with the sweetness.  It also had a slight oakiness to it as well that help keep the sweetness from taking over. The one thing I'd say was missing was any real spice, but given how well everything else worked, I certainly didn't miss it.

The finish was long and just carried forward those rich dessert notes, but perhaps with the pecan notes taking more of a center stage. If anything it finished with less sweetness which kind of made me love it even more. It also had a bit of tea note that lingered and just the slightest amount of cinnamon spice was left on my tongue.

This bottle certainly renewed my interest in other things Doc Swinson's may be doing. I loved this bottle and I'm glad I took a chance on it. And that easy-crack was still impresses me!

Grade: A

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