Caramel | Peach | Apricot | Nectarine | Rye Spice | Mild oak
Honeydew | White grape | Grapefruit | Rye spice | White pepper
Rye spice | White pepper | Touch of orange | Light clove | Mellow oak
With a unique collection of fruit flavors, Old Man Winter, despite its ambiguity in the market, makes a memorable impression.
Much like the other brands in Preservation Distillery's portfolio, there’s also a degree of mysticism surrounding Old Man Winter. The brand has been around for decades, but it never has reached mainstream consciousness, largely due to its lack of widespread distribution. Previous releases typically featured an impressive double digit age statement, but this current release is non-age statement (NAS) and features a more “squat” bottle compared to its previous wine bottle shape. The barcode on the bottle states the whiskey is from Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee distilleries, but a handwritten addendum on the bottle’s back label only includes Indiana and Kentucky. The bottle’s tagline states “Bourbon from the Black Hill.” I’m not sure if that was ever true or is just a fun marketing flourish, however, it doesn’t detract from what this bottle ultimately offers.
Right from the start, the bourbon’s aroma has a lot to say. A strong front of caramel is greeted with a trio of bright stone fruit with staples of peach, apricot, and nectarine. The combination of caramel and these three fruits works exceedingly well. A slight pivot occurs on the palate, with honeydew, white grape, and grapefruit added to the mix. It's this collection of fruit flavors that really makes this bourbon work. Despite its overall fruitiness, the bourbon is far from being called sweet. This is because as soon as the fruit begins to escalate, rye spice and black pepper move in and dominate the later part of the palate and the start of the finish. This bourbon has a very old school style to it even though it offers a new school collection of fruit flavors. It comes together into a cohesive blend that will easily impress those who decide to take the journey to the “Black Hills.”
The bottle in review has a designation code of C-2J-4, known as batch 01.