Barrel no. 2530, 117.2 Proof, 13 Years Old
We’ve been big fans of the Belle Meade bourbons coming out of our neighboring state of Tennessee for a long time. They were early on the cask finished whiskies trend, and we liked it for a while until it seemed like maybe they were covering up some younger, less interesting sauce with Sherry or Madeira to mask the lack of complexity. Luckily, they just keep coming with good old traditional whiskey, too. The Cask Strength Reserve is a top bang-for-your-buck bourbon any day of the week. So much so it has sadly become harder to find. These Belle Meade Single Barrel’s are even more rare I hear, but I found this on the shelf of a well-curated local shop so I had to give it a shot.
Deep dark red copper color. Lengthy legs that just seem to hang on the glass.
Cherry, cinnamon, baking spices, strong vanilla, not as much acetone as one would expect for such a high proof.
A lovely silky, oily mouth feel. Deeper bass notes of leather and tobacco join the cherry and vanilla from the nose. The finish just seems to hang around forever making this a good long sipper. With a little breathing time dark chocolate pops in to join the party. The complexity on display here reminds we of the eye-opening experience I had the first time I tasted Pappy Van Winkle. (Something I don’t get from recent releases of Pappy, but very evident in George T. Stagg.) While I love this single barrel, another barrel might be quite different. And the price was more than twice what I spent on the Belle Meade Cask Reserve — that is almost just as enjoyable.