Classification: Straight Bourbon
Company: Saint Cloud Kentucky Bourbon
Age: Under 4 Years
Mashbill: Undisclosed (Includes corn, rye, and malted barley)
MSRP: $93 (2019)
Saint Cloud Kentucky Bourbon doesn’t look like a typical bourbon. Adorned in upscale packaging with a small, understated side label and rounded shoulders offset by a copper medallion and heavy copper stopper, it feels different. Like seeing a European sports car amid a range of more familiar pickup trucks, muscle cars, and the like. Rolling the bourbon around in the bottle I can see a healthy amount of sediment - a pleasing attribute as it typically means the bourbon has been minimally filtered. I later learned it was not filtered at all.
The bourbon is full bodied on the nose, with apple, summer fruits, and sweet caramel emanating from the glass. On the sip, it has a viscous, oily consistency. There’s a healthy dose of spice in the form of cinnamon and black pepper. The spice is countered by sweet black currants. As the spice fades, a summer fruit sweetness comes into play on the lingering finish.
Overall it’s robust, full-flavored, and unique tasting. There are echoes of youth, but not in the same way you might usually describe a young tasting bourbon. Rather, the lack of typical barrel and wood notes suggests youth - there is an absence of typical higher aged elements as opposed to a presence of the typical lesser aged flavors.
The side label bears a small gold signature - Ray Walker. Intrigued by the bottle design and flavor profile, I was excited to speak with Walker about this inaugural release. Saint Cloud Kentucky Bourbon is Walker's comeback story, but also a new beginning that honors Walker’s past with a family history that, according to Walker, has roots in Kentucky. Walker’s experience making wine - a spectacular rise to the top and fall to the bottom - is now being transitioned to his bourbon. His goal is exploration into the not-so-typical. In this case, a mashbill of more than 70% corn, less than 20% rye, and more than 10% malted barley (exact percentages were not disclosed), combined with a copper pot still, aging in french oak barrels, and then bottling at cask strength with no filtering results in something with a not-so-typical flavor profile. The current batch of 12 barrels, with a 3,000 bottle yield, is the first of many. Walker seeks to experiment, and see where each release - the aim being keeping them small - takes him.
Batch 1 is unique, and despite its young age really intrigued me. While it is pricey for a young bourbon, if you’re looking for something not-so-typical this fits the bill.
The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Saint Cloud. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.