Classification: Straight Bourbon Finished in Pineau des Charentes Casks
Company: Distillers Way, LLC
Distillery: Sourced from MGP
Release Date: June 2023
Age: NAS (Website states blend of 5 year old bourbons)
Mashbill: Blend of two mashbills:
-60% Corn, 36% Rye, 4% Malted Barley
-75% Corn, 21% Rye, 4% Malted Barley
Color: Dark Gold
MSRP: $85 (2023)
Light brown sugar | Mild buttery oak | Faint raisins | Light ethanol | Muted overall
Summer fruits | Jam | Buttery oak | Light cinnamon spice | Vanilla frosting | Nice mouthfeel | Dab of green peppercorn spice | Sweet centric notes | Tasty
Quick hit of peach jam | Light dry oak | Dab of leather | Mixed peppercorn | Vanilla bean | Dry | Mild heat
Utilizing Pineau des Charentes casks as finishing barrels, Doc Swinson’s Exploratory Cask Pineau des Charentes affords bourbon drinkers the chance to step outside of the more commonly used French finishing barrels to mixed results.
Doc Swinson may be known for sourcing bourbon, however, their Exploratory Cask series explores unique finishes that haven’t been widely utilized in the American whiskey space. In the case of Pineau des Charentes, the company chose to blend two bourbons aged 5 years, 4 months and 5 years, 10 months, and finish them in Pineau des Charentes Casks for an additional 9 to 14 months. Pineau des Charentes is a regional aperitif of western France, that is made by blending grape juice with cognac before being aged in French oak barrels.
Upon lifting the glass, you’re greeted with a really muted nose that makes you work for scents of brown sugar, buttery oak, and raisins. There’s a lingering ethanol scent but it’s a reminder of the bourbon’s proof and doesn’t detract from the faint aroma. Thankfully, the palate opens up nicely with a delicious sweet midpoint that is what you’d expect out of a wine-finished bourbon. Summer fruits and jam bring a lively sweetness to it, while cinnamon and green peppercorn add a complementary spice. The bourbon circles right back to where it started and tends to fall short on delivery of the finish, ending with flavors that quickly drop and are replaced with a mild lingering heat.
Doc Swinson’s Exploratory Cask Pineau des Charentes will be a nice introduction to many who have never had a Pineau des Charentes finished bourbon. While it falters slightly at times, the overall sip is enjoyable and ultimately is one that will please those who pour a glass.
The bourbon in review is from release 23-0003 bottle #1117.