A couple of weeks ago Jim and I discussed the basics of bourbon with our listeners and one of the topics we touched on was finished bourbons. Over the past several years this has become more and more popular. So popular that one distillery Angel’s Envy only does finished expressions. Almost all of the big distiller’s have at least tried and some have failed at this true art of taking something already beautiful and delicious, then turning it into almost a exquisite piece of art.
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Now taking a bourbon that has aged for several years and dumping it into another cask that might have been used for brandy, wine or even beer is something of a risk and as I stated above many have failed, but for those that are clever enough to unlock that Pandora’s box are rewarded with something truly remarkable in my humble opinion. These finished bourbons open the whiskey world up to the masses.
What do I mean by that? Well, take a sweet wine drinker like my dear wife that doesn’t like the taste of whiskey. With it’s rough around the edges attitude and Kentucky Hug, it might be just two much for someone like her. Take that same whiskey and finish it in a port wine barrel, that has added some sweetness, complexity (layer up on layer of flavors) and bam you have something she will drink. Just like that she wants to try other whiskies. This is were you open that door, that is where the distillery that took that chance will make their money back ten fold. If my wife says go out and buy her a bottle of finished bourbon, you better bet I’m on my way to the local liquor store looking for something that she will enjoy.
Now we have tried several of these over the past year and some have been outstanding and some didn’t live up to their own hype. Usually the nose on these bottles are simply breath taking. How could they not be when these barrels have been full of honey, rum, Syrah and endless other tasty liquids. I went as far as wishing that our friends at Balcones would fill a barrel with Big Red Soda or Dr. Pepper syrup and then finish some of their remarkable Texas whiskey in the casks for this old Texas boy to enjoy.
The problem always seems to be the finish where they seem to just fall of a cliff. They are just flat as I’ve sometimes said. More and more distilleries are able to figure out the art and the nose, palate and finish all match up. So in in this weeks episode Jim and I tackle tow finished bourbons. Rabbits Hole Dareringer that is Straight Bourbon Whiskey finished in PX Sherry Casks with a mash bill of 68% Corn, 18% Wheat and 14% malted barely. I know what your thinking, Big Chief is gonna love it because it is a wheater. We shall see! Then in the second half we finish it off with Joseph Magnus Triple Casks that is a straight bourbon whiskey that is finished in Oloroso sherry, PX sherry and cognac casks. Wow, that’s a mouth full isn’t it? Hint Hint!
So its that time to grab a glass, grab a finished bourbon if you have one, if not run out and grab a bottle from that local liquor store. Once home pour a beautiful dram and kick back as Jim and I take you down The Bourbon Road for an adventure in the world of finished bourbons. Cheers
Mike (Big Chief)
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