Sunday, May 1, 2022

Old Soul 15 Year Cask Strength Straight Bourbon Whiskey

- $125
- 102 Proof
- 15 Years
- Kentucky

On my last trip to Louisville, I of course made it a point to hit up the closest Liquor Barn to find whatever store picks I could find, or just any bottle that I couldn't get by me. After immediately grabbing a Russell's Reserve pick off the shelf, I eventually found my way to the "rare spirits" cabinet. In perusing the selection, there were mostly high-priced bourbons of questionable origin, and I wasn't really blown away.  But, I wanted to come back with something.

I saw this Old Soul there, and I know I had seen Old Soul 14 in Illinois, but not the 15 year.  I did some quick Googling on my phone, and the rumors were that the 15 year was sourced from Jim Beam (from what I understood, the 14 year that was available in Illinois was Barton, but don't quote me on that).  So, while this bottle carried a hefty price tag, the idea of 15 year Beam bourbon at cask strength for $125 really isn't that out of whack.

The nose was excellent on this. I got sweet, creamy caramel and dark chocolate. That was topped with a sort of caramelized banana. The Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chao does a baked banana that is incredible, and this reminded me of that. There was also a woody nutty note that likened to walnut.

On the flavor, I was immediately hit with those traditional notes of caramel and brown sugar. There was also a layer of unsweetened vanilla, kind of like vanilla extract. There was also a rich, almost tangy note that was kind of like an amaretto liqueur.

I also got this sort of sour candied cherry note. It was sweet but tart all at once. It also had that liqueur quality to it, like the cherry found in the middle of a cherry cordial. The dark chocolate from the nose also came through, and this seemed to fit perfectly with that cherry note. 

The finish was almost all cinnamon and brown sugar. But, I also got the dark chocolate and the type of nutty note that I associate with Jim Beam bourbons. It wasn't totally peanuts like some bottles I've had. It leaned more towards a walnut note. But, if I were tasting this blind, I'd like to think that I'd have pegged this as a Beam product.

All in all, this was a very good bourbon. I'm not mad at the price, as it's probably in line with the age and proof, if not on the low end.  It held up with solid, traditional flavors, and gave a nice sweet, but not too sweet, profile.

Grade: B

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