Saturday, June 8, 2024

Bomberger's Declaration Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon - 2021

- $90
- 108 Proof
- Batch #21E1349
- Kentucky

I have always been a big fan of the two regular Michter's releases, Shenk's and Bomberger's.  These were always special releases that weren't overly difficult to find, somewhat reasonably priced, and always solid pours. In fact, this one was one that I just happened to see sitting on a shelf and I remember being initially caught off guard and then immediately taking one off the shelf.

I haven't picked any up recently though.  That's not due to availability but rather due to price. The price for both Shenk's and Bomberger's has doubled in the last four years, perhaps in an effort by Michter's to try to reach that ceiling of what the bourbon hunter is willing to pay for their limited releases. I've had them enough that I had no problem turning down a newer bottle at $150.  That said, I'm sure it's still solid bourbon, and I do wish it were more price-friendly, as I'd like to keep some on my shelf if I could.

The nose was rich and delicious.  Right away I got this great, spiced cherry note, with a bit of black pepper to accompany the sweetness of the cherry.  There was a light cinnamon note, as well as a distinct toffee and dark chocolate note, really hammering home that "rich" characteristic.

The flavor was actually a bit more interesting, and even a bit more punchy. Right away I got a sweet clove note, bringing together those notes of cinnamon, pepper and black cherry, but in a more in-your-face way. There was also a smooth caramel sweetness to it that seemed to ride along with the cherry note, which came through right after it first hit my tongue.

On the back end it came across a bit more dark fruit forward and a bit more nutty. The black cherry remained, but there was also a sort of fig or raisin note that came through. In a way it was like black currants but slightly less sweet. There was also a sort of almond extract note that I got, though not strong.

The finish was almost all cherry and almond, however. None of the spice that I got up front really lingered, and that would be the only thing I missed in this whiskey. A little bit of cinnamon and/or black pepper spice would have really knocked this one out of the park. But, that cherry and almond still had the desired effect of making me immediately want another sip. 

I really wish the price on these bottles hadn't jumped so much and so quickly. I do love these releases, and this 2021 release was no different.

Grade: A-

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