Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Carl T. Huber's Binny's Private Select Cigar Batch Bourbon Finished in Brazilian Amburana Barrels

- $80
- 112.6 Proof
- 4.5 Years
- Barrel No. FB144-1
- Indiana

I am unapologetically a fan of Starlight Distillery. For a long time I've been enjoying their ryes, and I love that in the last couple of years they are finally getting their due! Starlight has been producing quality whiskey for a long time, and they appear to have been having fun while doing it, offering all sorts of unique or experimental expressions, as well as developing a robust and accessible private barrel program.

This particular bottle falls within both categories, and for that reason alone my interest was certainly piqued.  However, I had no clue what Brazilian Amburana barrels were, and I had to google it while in the whiskey aisle at Binny's just go get some understanding. Apparently Amburana is a very spicy type of wood, one known for imparting all sorts of spice and flavors into whatever is stored in its barrels. It's been fairly big in the brewing world, but this is certainly the first Amburana barrel finish I've seen with whiskey. 

Once I opened this bottle I knew this was something different and unique. I was hit with just a big pile of warm cinnamon raisin bread.  It had all those sweet, bready and cinnamon notes. I also got some hazelnut, but it was more artificial, kind of like a hazelnut candy. There was a thick layer of vanilla, as well as some sweet pipe tobacco and even tea leaves.

The flavor was also very much cinnamon raisin bread. It was just the memory or the recall I had with every sip that I took. The only twist would be that these raisins had been soaked in red wine. There was just a bit more to it.  I also got some sweet caramel notes, and even a sweet bran muffin note from time to time.

As this whiskey opened up, though, the flavor seemed to narrow a bit, focusing on that caramel, on that vanilla from the nose, and on the sweet tobacco note. All of this was layered over a hickory note to add a bit of earthiness to it as well.

On the final pours, I couldn't help but be reminded of hazelnut coffee. Once I got that in my head it was all I kept coming back to. It was that flavor that I couldn't quite put my thumb on, but once I did I couldn't notice anything else.

My take from this bourbon is that this is one of the most interesting and flavorful whiskeys I've ever had. There was so much going on here, and it all worked together, almost as though it was intentionally themed. I don't see this necessarily being for everyone, but this absolutely hit a home run for me, and I definitely want to pick up more of these "Cigar Batch" bourbons from Starlight.

Grade: A

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