Standard: Found on the lower shelves of most liquor stores.
Single: It must be one of the more accessible and affordable private barrel programs available because many stores carry this.
Standard: NAS (Rumored 5-7 Years)
Single: 9 Years 11 months (2001 Vintage)
Nose: The standard bottle has a decent nose on it, but it’s dominated by char, wood and smoke. I’ll give it some extra credit for its nose-filling aroma though. Inexpensive bourbon usually doesn’t smell this full-flavored. By comparison, the single barrel is more refrained and balanced. Usually those are positive attributes, but in this case, the nose loses a lot of the character that the standard bottle has. It’s a decent smelling bourbon, it just smells a little flat in comparison with the standard bottle.
Palate: The standard bottle has a very light and thin body to it. It’s smooth and sweet with a mild amount of alcohol flavor to it. The palate is on the weaker side of flavor, which is common in sub-$20 bourbons. The single barrel is richer, more full bodied and thicker. Notes of caramel and toffee are most present. It’s truly everything the standard isn’t. Surprisingly, both of these bourbons are basically the same proof which would be hard to tell if it wasn’t for the label.
Finish: The strong oak and char scent and taste from both bottles travels all the way into the finish. Both bourbons finish on the dry side. The standard bottle’s finish definitely lacks depth, with the oak and dryness taking center stage. The single barrel’s finish has similar traits but is able to have some spice peek through the oak.
Value: The standard bottles is a decent bourbon in the sub $20 range compared to others I’ve had. I paid almost half for it compared to the single barrel, yet felt like I got half the bourbon the single barrel is. As a sipper, the standard bottle can’t compete with the single barrel.
This was an easy comparison. The single barrel is by far a better bourbon than the standard bottle. It might not have as strong of a nose on it compared to the standard bottle, but its palate and finish are far superior.