Monday, July 24, 2023

Charleston Distilling Co. Vesey's Liquor 'n' Wine Single Barrel Select Straight Bourbon Whiskey

- $50
- 94 Proof
- 4 Years
- Barrel No. 52
- South Carolina

This is one of those bottles where I had never even heard of Charleston Distilling Co., let alone considered trying their products, prior to seeing it on the shelf. Even on the shelf it wasn't something that stuck out to me, and if it weren't for the clerk behind the counter handing me a sample as I perused the shelves, I probably would have never given it a thought.

But, as I stood in that bourbon aisle, I tried that sample he gave me, and it was pretty good. It wasn't great, and it didn't knock my socks off or anything. But, here was this single barrel bourbon, aged at least four years, distilled by the same company bottling it, and it was a private pick. So, for the $50 price tag, I figured this was worth giving a chance.

The aroma carried many of those traditional bourbon notes, including caramel and brown sugar. There was a rich dark fruit note, kind of like a cherry but without the tartness. It also had a nutty note, like walnuts. Altogether, it all made for a surprisingly great nose!

Right up front I got that traditional caramel note, but this was immediately followed by a note that caught me off-guard a bit. At first I thought it was something vegetal, and then it hit me that what I was getting was a coffee note. It wasn't bitter, but it definitely had that flavor.  I was also getting notes of walnut and baked apple, and a whole lot of corn, kind of like corn bread.

On later pours, the apple note took on more of a Granny Smith apple note. It did develop not only some tartness, but also some brightness in the flavor. The caramel persisted, though, which was a nice complement to that Granny Smith note.  It was different, but it was a good different.  With young whiskeys I often get an over-ripe apple note, and that's not what this was. Rather, it was just a good, tart Granny Smith with some caramel.

I didn't get any apple notes on the nose. Rather, the focus there was sweet caramel on the finish, and something that reminded me of sandalwood.  Not that I've spent any time in a workshop cutting sandalwood, but if I did, I'd imagine that the taste of the air is the flavor I was getting here. The cornbread note also stuck around a bit, making for a kind of an odd, disjointed finish.

Overall, I left this bottle thinking I'd like to try more of what Charleston Distilling has to offer. While it seemed to stray from traditional bourbon notes, it was still quite tasty, and I found myself enjoying pour after pour.

Grade: B

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