Classification: Straight Bourbon Finished in Amburana Oak Barrels
Company: Red Line Whiskey, LLC
Distillery: Sourced from MGP
Release Date: November 2022 (Ongoing)
Age: NAS (Blend of 5 year old bourbons according to the company website)
Mashbill: 75% Corn, 21% Rye, 4% Malted Barley
Color: Orange-toned Copper
MSRP: $60 (2023)
Gingerbread | Cinnamon | Fresh wood | Very aromatic
Big cinnamon | Clove | Gingerbread cookie | Seasoned oak | Vanilla custard | Grassy, herbal undertone | Unique
Herbal undertone is pervasive into the finish | Slight black pepper spice | Nutmeg | Light molasses | Tobacco
Highlighting different types of wood finishing, Elements by Red Line kicks off with a very expressive barrel finish thanks to its use of Amburana casks.
Red Line Whiskey was founded by a father and son team with over 30 years of fine wine and liquor industry experience and gave their whiskey its name from the “Red Line,'' which is the caramelized layer of sugars that develops just beneath the char of a barrel.
First released in November 2022 and just in Missouri, the Elements line is planned to be released in more states in 2023. According to the company, the Elements line is a “journey of exploration and discovery, unveiling the unique flavors and expressions of different oaks from around the world.” With bourbon, barrels are traditionally made from new white oak, however, “there are hundreds of species of oak found across the globe just waiting to be stumbled upon.”
This initial release of Elements features a blend of 5-year-old MGP sourced bourbons finished in Amburana barrels (though it's unknown if they are new barrels or have been used to age other spirits). Amburana is a species of tree native to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Peru. Amburana wood has a tight grain, and has been traditionally used to age Cachaca (though most Cachaca is aged in oak), a popular Brazilian spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice. Amburana is also used for lumber, and more recently craft brewers have taken a liking to it.
We are just starting to see Amburana finished bourbons, and I’d expect to see a lot more in the future. The impact of finishing in Amburana casks isn’t subtle, the wood adds a tremendous amount of unique flavor. The same herbal undertones are present as I’ve tasted with other bourbons finished in Amburana casks such as Starlight’s Cigar Batch Bourbon, but there are massive amounts of cinnamon and gingerbread notes here that I haven’t noticed before. This is especially true as the base component is a blend of MGP’s 75% corn, 21% rye, 4% malted barley mashbill, which is merely the foundation for this whiskey and doesn’t show through in-and-of-itself, instead allowing the Amburana finish to really steal the show. Elements is a cinnamon and gingerbread-forward whiskey that really highlights the Amburana finishing barrels, giving a taste of the extremes of what might be to come for this line. Like other Amburana finished whiskeys I’ve had, I expect this particular release to be polarizing.