Classification: Straight Bourbon Finished in Wine Casks
Company: Limestone Branch Distilling Co
Distillery: Limestone Branch Distilling Co and other undisclosed distilleries
Age: NAS (A blend of 4-12 year old bourbons)
Mashbill: Undisclosed (A portion of this release contains Limestone’s own distillate which consists of 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% malted barley)
Finishing bourbon in wine casks or another type of second used barrels isn’t terribly uncommon, but Limestone Branch has taken this process a step further this year. They started in 2016 by finishing their Limited Edition bourbon in (unspecified) wine casks. The following year they lightly charred those same casks and used them to finish their 2017 Limited Edition bourbon release. For this year’s 2018 release, they took those same barrels again and deeply charred them and used them for a third time, to finish this year’s bourbon. It seems like this repurposing of the same barrels year after year may result in messy results, but so far I’ve been impressed with both 2016 and 2017 releases. Will the third release finally break the camel’s back?
A potent aroma of caramel, red wine, raspberries, and wet oak. The scents are nicely balanced, which is impressive due to the many factors involved with finishing it. The whiskey goes down quite warm, and its thick mouthfeel handles its vigorous flavor well. This results is a well-integrated and flavorful palate that’s highlighted by dark chocolate, rich raspberries, and brandy soaked cherries. It finishes noticeably drier than previous years, with a heavy oak and cherry aftertaste.
Yes this year’s release still tastes like a wine barrel finished bourbon, but accomplishes what few do. It adds what bourbon can sometimes lack and enhances without overpowering. This year’s edition is a bit more heavy-handed than previous releases, but that is to be expected due to the process of its conception. Its oak component will be its main conflicting point. It will be too much for some, while others will find it nicely counters the whiskey’s strong flavors. In a year that has seen a number of great limited releases, this is yet another that can be added to the list. 12,000 bottle release.
The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Limestone Branch Distilling Co. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.