Saturday, July 1, 2023

O.K.I. Reserve Blended Bourbon Whiskey - Batch 01

- $90
- 100 Proof
- Batch 01
- Indiana

It seems forever ago that I enjoyed a bottle of O.K.I. Reserve Bourbon. That's the brand that New Riff released its sourced whiskey under when it was a fledgling distillery and was waiting for its own whiskey to age. I'm still astonished that at the time we could get a bottle of 10 Year MGP bourbon for only $50!  Of course, that was back in 2017, and a lot has changed since then.

When New Riff started putting out its own whiskey under its own name, it no longer released whiskey under the "O.K.I. Reserve" name, and eventually the last of it disappeared from the shelves. That is, until recently when a new company bought the rights (presumably) and resurrected the brand. Admittedly, I knew very little about the whiskey itself before purchasing my bottle, but some quick research told me it had been received pretty favorably. So, I was willing to give this new iteration a try.

The nose gave off rich notes of cinnamon spice and chocolate. It also had this sweet, caramel-type cola note.  All of this blended together into a rich and delicious combination that immediately made my mouth water. There was also a great nutty note, like a candied pecan, that at times even leaned towards a delicious-smelling pecan pie note.

The flavor followed suit, to some extent. It led with rich and sweet notes of toffee and caramel. It also had that cola note that I got from the nose. Those rich toffee notes were accompanied by a sweet and spicy cinnamon note, kind of a mix between cinnamon sticks and cinnamon candy. Right away this one seemed to be right in my wheelhouse.  

At times the cola note seemed to lean more towards a root beer note, and I even got a light oak note from time to time, showing some of the age of the whiskeys that were mixed into this blend. There was also a nice undercurrent of vanilla to complement everything else going on.

On the finish, the wood notes seemed a bit more prevalent, along with the rich toffee. While the cinnamon spice didn't linger too much, the vanilla notes were a bit more prevalent, and very welcome. I certainly found myself quickly going in for that next sip.

Overall, I really enjoyed this bourbon. I think the proof, despite being lower, was quite right. It had a great viscosity and a great balance of flavor and sweetness.  

Grade: A-

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