Classification: Straight Bourbon Finished in Cognac Casks
Company: Red Line Whiskey
Distillery: Sourced from an undisclosed Indiana distillery(ies)
Release Date: February 2023
Age: NAS (Aged at least 4 years per TTB regulations)
Mashbill: 75% Corn, 21% Rye, 4% Malted Barley
Color: Reddish Copper
MSRP: $100 (2023)
Concord grape | Black cherry | Brown sugar | Vanilla | Burnt sugar
Dark fruits | Leather | Touch of cinnamon | Light chocolate malt
Dark berries | Dry oak | Rye spice | Black pepper | Peanut aftertaste
A straightforward Cognac finish that gets the basics right.
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.
I enjoyed Red Line’s Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon and found it features just the right amount of toasted barrel finish. I can say the same about this X.O. Cognac cask finished bourbon too. The company seems to have a knack for knowing when enough is enough when it comes to finishing. It could come down to luck, or the team takes great care to monitor the barrels as they are finishing.
Like many Cognac finished bourbons, the many shades of grape are ever present throughout. The note is at its brightest in the bourbon’s nose, which is nicely paired with black cherry brown sugar and vanilla. It’s not the most expressive aroma, but the scents work really well together. The palate features layers of dark fruits which is the main driving force of the sip. Touches of leather, cinnamon, and chocolate malt add depth. The finish puts dark berries front and forward with dry oak, rye spice, and black pepper providing contrast. Though it's largely a straightforward affair, the flavors add a nice amount of depth and overall it's a very approachable and flavorful Cognac finished bourbon. It may not be as refined and balanced as Chicken Cock Chanticleer, but it's a quarter of its price and an excellent place to start if you’re interested in Cognac finished bourbons.