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  1. #1
    Bourbonian Of The Year 2013 and Guru
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    Thoughts on "Finished" Bourbons?

    Before I start, I'll preface this by saying that this post is not about "flavor added bourbons/whiskies, such as Red Stag, WT Honey, EW Cinnamon, etc, as that's for another thread. With that out of the way, I'll say that I have been, and continue to be a fan and proponent of additional alternative barrel/cask finishing of bourbon. I have enjoyed many of these from a variety of distilleries (and NDP's), albeit some more than others. My recent purchase and tasting of the Beam Distiller's Masterpiece PX Sherry cask finished bourbon has been the very best that I have tried to date, and really illustrated how it can be done so well, IMO. Although the process is not unheard of in Bourbonia, it certainly has increased in its use in recent years. And, I believe the practice opens up a tremendous new avenue for the spirit to evolve in the future. I still prefer plain bourbon the vast majority of the time, but there are times when a well executed finished bourbon can be positively perfect to me. I look forward to more releases across the board.

    So, that's what I think. What do you think?
    JOE

    Wag more.
    Bark less.

    "Every bottle is its own learning experience." -- Sensei Ox-sama

  2. #2
    Disciple
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    Aug 2013
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    Re: Thoughts on "Finished" Bourbons?

    I think you made me get up and pour three fingers of Alberta Dark Batch rye!

    And I couldn't agree more, Joe!

  3. #3
    Advanced Taster
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    Feb 2015
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    St. Charles, IL
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    155

    Re: Thoughts on "Finished" Bourbons?

    I haven't tried a lot of "finished" bourbons. I had Angel's Envy and was not blown away by it. Others have raved about the port barrel finish, but, it just isn't my thing. Also, I don't know if Makers 46 qualifies as a "finished" bourbon with the addition of french oak staves, but, that as well was just average to me. I prefer regular old MM to the 46. I believe that adding different staves, coffee beans, cocoa beans, etc. can add another dimension to the finished product, however, sometimes it doesn't work out for the better.

  4. #4
    Virtuoso
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    Jan 2014
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    Re: Thoughts on "Finished" Bourbons?

    I like basic BT a lot. I like it when it is redistilled at the A. Smith Bowman Distillery in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and then aged there even more. I especially like the experiments Master Distiller Prewitt and friends at ASB have released including both the bourbon finished in port casks and the bourbon aged in barrels previously holding coffee beans. Indeed, I had to have my wife hide my second bottle of the latter to keep me from O.D.-ing. And, while I can take or leave (and likely would leave) Angel's Envy (if only because at its price point or lower, I can buy stuff I like better), my wife likes it for some cocktails. So, that's why we buy it and that is how we drink it.

  5. #5
    Taster
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    Jan 2015
    Location
    Memphis TN
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    53

    Re: Thoughts on "Finished" Bourbons?

    I haven't tried a wide variety, but I think it's a fine line between enriching and overpowering. HHSS was done correctly, IMO, and with Alberta Dark, the sherry is way out in front, burying the more delicate flavors.

  6. #6
    Advanced Taster
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    Lawrence KS
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    Re: Thoughts on "Finished" Bourbons?

    I hope that the finished thing doesn't take hold like in scotch. What with the capacity being met by demand and best stuff so hard to find now - why even further cut down the supply.

  7. #7
    Bourbonian Of The Year 2013 and Guru
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    Re: Thoughts on "Finished" Bourbons?

    Quote Originally Posted by ken_mays View Post
    I haven't tried a wide variety, but I think it's a fine line between enriching and overpowering. HHSS was done correctly, IMO, and with Alberta Dark, the sherry is way out in front, burying the more delicate flavors.
    Excellent point, KM. And I think, that fine line is a moving target depending on the individual. As Harry referred to above with all of the experiments that Bowman has done, I have found some to be wonderfully balanced (Port finished comes to mind), but the Gingerbread Beer Barrel was "underdone" for me. BTW, kudos to Bowman for their continued efforts in this area. On the other end, the Belle Meade Sherry borders on too heavy a hand in the sherry department for me, but others that tried it at a recent tasting I conducted, found it the Best in Show of the 8, or so, we tried. The HHSS is sublime!
    JOE

    Wag more.
    Bark less.

    "Every bottle is its own learning experience." -- Sensei Ox-sama

  8. #8
    Virtuoso
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    Jan 2014
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    Washington DC
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    Re: Thoughts on "Finished" Bourbons?

    Joe, I had the same reaction to the gingerbread beer experiment which is why I didn't mention it. It is "interesting" but not sometrhing that knocked me over. And, the HHSS is how it SHOULD be done.

  9. #9
    Disciple
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    Downriver, Detroit, MI
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    Re: Thoughts on "Finished" Bourbons?

    I'd say, for myself, that I have loved a few of 'em; liked a couple others and been underwhelmed by some others. So, I guess, the best response I can muster is; "It depends".
    On what? I really can't put a finger on it. Parker's Heritage a few years ago with the brandy finish, I found excellent (I wish I had a case of it!), Angel's Envy leaves me thinking; "It ain't that special."
    The first SB pick of HHSS was a revelation, possibly for the fact that it was barrel proof (I'm a sucker for BP's... They allow me to find my own perfect dilution! ...Or none at all!).
    The second round of SB picked HHSS was just a smidgen too far for my taste buddies. Don't get me wrong. I love that stuff; just not quite as much as the first one.
    So, to sum up: I hope the folx who make these decisions keep making the effort(s); and I will keep trying ones that seem promising to me.

  10. #10
    Connoisseur
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    Jan 2014
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    Arlington, TX
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    909

    Re: Thoughts on "Finished" Bourbons?

    I'm all for the "finishing experiments", as long as it doesn't become a way to try and mask the problems with a bad batch of whiskey.
    I've tried some of the Bowman's, and enjoyed them, the port finish more so than the vanilla bean or gingerbread. Never cared much for Angel's Envy, but do like the Cask Strength version, which doesn't seem to be as overpowered by the finish.
    Belle Meade's standard release was just average to me, but I really enjoyed the Sherry finished release I had.
    On a related note, I'm picking up a bottle of Dad's Hat Rye finished in Sweet Vermouth Casks, in a couple of weeks. Fairly excited to try that one.
    "You Can't Buy Happiness, but you can buy Whiskey!"

 

 

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