Classification: Straight Bourbon Finished in Amburana and Toasted Barrels
Company: New Holland Spirits
Distillery: New Holland Brewing Company
Release Date: November 2023
Age: NAS (Company’s website states aged more than 5 years before finishing)
Mashbill: 70% Corn, 25% Malted Barley, 5% Rye
MSRP: $90 / 750mL (2023)
Toasted cinnamon sticks | Brown sugar | Honey | Light nutmeg | Toasted oak | Burnt leaves | Dried tobacco leaf | Potpourri of fall spices
Leather | Dry oak | Cinnamon spice | Juicy stone fruit | Berries | Dry & sweet
Faint rye spice | Ripe plum | Leather | Dry oak | Dash of cinnamon | Lingering
While it may be a solid Amburana finished bourbon, Dragon’s Milk Origin Toasted Barrel 2023G will be a head scratcher for fans of the company’s more traditional Dragon’s Milk Origin Toasted Barrel line.
Known for their Dragon’s Milk beer, New Holland Spirits has slowly been building their whiskey portfolio over the last several years. In 2022 they released their Dragon’s Milk Origin Small Batch Bourbon, which uses 100 barrels for its blend. The brand took things a step further by releasing four limited edition single toasted barrels earlier this year. At the end of 2023, the brand is releasing another set of four, with three being single barrels, and Dragon’s Milk Origin Toasted Barrel 2023G being a blend of two barrels. Both barrels were initially finished in toasted barrels followed by one being finished in a first use Amburana barrel and the other finished in a second use Amburana barrel before they were blended together.
There’s no denying that this sip is heavily influenced by its time spent finishing in Amburana barrels. The nose provides a huge blast of toasted cinnamon sticks and an overall potpourri of fall spices, however, once you get past this initial blast, more subtle scents of dried tobacco leaf, honey, and brown sugar appear. The midpoint is a contrast in dry and sweet notes that ping pong back and forth for your attention. Ending on an initial blast of dry spice notes, the finish lingers for a surprisingly long time with highlights of ripe plum sitting atop a dry base.
This is one of those bourbons where the rating doesn’t reflect the expectations I had for this bourbon. For fans of Amburana finished bourbons or those looking to explore this category, this will be a hit, as this highlights the impact that Amburana barrels have on bourbon. Adding in the toasted finish as a base and the bourbon’s high malted barley component allows for the bourbon to have just a little more character than you’ll find from your standard Amburana finished bourbon. However, for those who are fans of New Holland Spirits' more traditional toasted barrel finished bourbons, this will be quite a change of course from what they are used to, and quite frankly a bit disappointing. What normally makes a Dragon’s Milk Origin Toasted Barrel single barrel so interesting is the dynamic flavor profile that their distillate and toasted barrels provide. The Amburana finish almost completely overpowers that flavor profile. At the end of the day, this may be a good bourbon, but it’s not one that fans of this line will be expecting. I’m certain fans would have preferred an Amburana finished bourbon that more effectively married the finish with the underlying bourbon, as opposed to overwhelming it.