Classification: Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Finished in French Oak Barrels
Company: Filibuster Distillery
Distillery: Filibuster Distillery and MGP Ingredients, Inc.
Age: Label States: Less than 4 years, Website: 4-6 Years
Mashbill: 70% Corn, 20% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
MSRP: $45 (2019)
Filibuster Distillery was originally based in Washington, DC, not far from the Capitol Building (hence the name), before moving to Virginia. It is a women and minority-owned distillery that prides themselves on strong character and freedom of expression. Their bourbon and rye both feature what they’ve dubbed the “Dual Cask” process, which is a secondary aging step finishing their whiskey in wine-seasoned French oak barrels. Their Filibuster Bourbon, which is a blend of Virginia and MGP bourbons, is aged for an additional 60-90 days this way in a combination of red and white wine barrels. Notably, while the base whiskey was a straight bourbon, the finishing process disqualifies it from legally being called a bourbon without the notation of the finishing included - e.g. “Bourbon finished in French Oak Wine Barrels.”
Right from the start the wine barrel finishing is noticeable, but nowhere near overpowering. It adds a gentle layer of sweetness and red fruit aroma to the nose and doesn’t drastically overpower the whiskey’s other notes of vanilla, pine, cherry and light grain. A cherry cola, vanilla, caramel, and black cherry comprise a palate that noticeably has a thin mouthfeel. There is slight heat on the finish that presents clean and crisp notes of mild spice, burnt caramel, and light grape.
The whiskey’s mouthfeel and overall thinness works against it as its enjoyable palate doesn’t quite hit with the power it deserves. I appreciate the gentleness of the secondary finishing as it adds nuance without overpowering the whiskey’s base flavors. As a youngish distillery, the company’s brands have seen changes as they adjust the percentage of their own distillate versus their sourced stock. I like where the brand currently is, but I can also see where improvements can be made. Like any distillery, whiskey is a living thing and changes will be made. Its current iteration makes me curious what’s in store for this brand in the future.
The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy ofFilibuster Distillery. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.