Penelope 9 Year Private Select Bourbon (Batch 23-202)


Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: MGP

Distillery: MGP

Release Date: October 2023

Proof: 109

Age: 9 Years

Mashbill: 85% Corn, 10% Rye, 3% Malted Barley, 2% Wheat

Color: Dark Copper

MSRP: $65 / 750mL (2023)

Official Website


Burnt caramel | French chocolate truffles | Butterscotch | Varnish | Cedar | Raspberry


Royalty raspberries | Cinnamon sugar | Vanilla | Cherrywood


Pepper | Dry spiced oak | Leather | Cinnamon | Spicy | Long flavorful finish


As their first major release since being acquired, Penelope Barrel Strength 9 Year Private Select Bourbon showcases how this new relationship will evolve the Penelope Bourbon brand.

Penelope Barrel Strength 9 Year Private Select Bourbon is a noteworthy release for Penelope Bourbon. It’s the first real release since they were acquired by MGP in May, which allowed them greater access to the depths of MGP’s stock of aging barrels. Their Barrel Strength Bourbon batches have typically fallen in the 3-5 year range, so the sudden increase to 9 years is a major one for the company. MGP bourbon tends to have more unique and distinctive traits the older it gets. While it’s not unusual to find older MGP bourbon in other brands, Penelope suddenly finds themselves as the headliner for the brand. They aren’t non-distiller producers anymore. Their releases are now the go-to source spotlighting MGP distilled whiskey, so expectations are much higher for Penelope now than they’ve ever been.

The increase in age has an immediate impact on Penelope’s flavor profile compared to their previous barrel strength releases. There is far less immediate grain on its onset, and the brighter fruity notes are also tempered as a result. The bourbon’s color is also far darker, and as you’d expect, its flavor profile is much more oak-heavy, with vanilla and caramel playing a more prominent role. Bright red raspberries from previous younger batches have transitioned to a delightful mix of black and red raspberries. The finish is heavily spiced with pepper and dry spiced oak commanding your attention the most. The bourbon’s 109 barrel strength proof is also deceptively potent adding a much longer finish to a Penelope Bourbon than is typical from the brand. As the first major release from Penelope since their buyout, it largely plays it safe which is in line with their typical bourbon releases (with the more experimental releases reserved for their Cooper Series). Bourbon fans should continue to watch Penelope as they dig deeper in MGP stock and see what they manage to create with it.

The sample used for this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy its respective company. We thank them for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.
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Written By: Eric Hasman

November 28, 2023
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