- 114 Proof
Alright, the first thing that needs to be noted here is the price. That is, in fact, the price I paid for this bottle. That is, in fact, nowhere near retail price. That said, I'm not mad at it. It's kind of a funny story how I came into getting this bottle.
Niche in Geneva, IL is a favorite local restaurant of mine, not only stocking a phenomenal whiskey selection, but boasting an incredible menu as well. In the Summer of 2020, most restaurants in Illinois were shut down due to COVID, with staff and management alike all looking for work or trying to weather the storm. While I was on an isolated beachy vacation with my family, the owner of Niche posted that they had just gotten this barrel pick in and that 100% of the proceeds from the sale would go back to their staff. So, wanting to make sure one of my favorite places remained just that, I jumped on the phone and reserved my bottle. For better or worse, I didn't bother asking the price.
So, once I got home from vacation, I excitedly drove over to Niche to pick up my bottle only to discover at that time the price I paid for it! Needless to say, my wife wasn't exactly thrilled. As I said, though, I wasn't mad about it. I'm sure my money helped someone else out at a time when they needed it more than I did. And if it kept Niche the institution that it's always been, I was happy to provide some funding towards that as well. And, in any event, Niche has always had amazing barrel picks, and I was sure this one wouldn't disappoint in flavor.
The aroma out of the glass was soft and pastry like. It had sweet dough and cinnamon notes, reminding me very much of cinnamon rolls. It even had a sweet vanilla icing quality to it. That sweetness was balanced, however, by a nice oak note that provided just the slightest bit of bitterness to round things out.
On the palate I got loads of sweet, rich caramel and soft vanilla. That soft vanilla was kind of like a sweet cream, or perhaps melted vanilla ice cream, but not so sugary. That light cinnamon note from the nose came through, as did the pastry note, though it actually reminded me more of a waffle batter. The sweets didn't stop there, though. I got a rich chocolate note along with a rich (yes I'm using that word a lot) salted caramel note that was like something you'd get from a chocolatier.
The finish provided something new, something along the lines of Maraschino cherries. It had that cordial note to it, as those cherry notes mixed with the chocolate and cinnamon to provide, once again, a rich and sweet chocolate treat type note.
This was an absolutely delicious pour, and it drank well-below its proof. I'm not sad I didn't grab two for the price, but I'm so glad I at least grabbed this one. Not only did it help do well by others, but it tasted incredible!