Van Winkle: Special Reserve: 12 Year: Lot B (American Wheated Bourbon: 12 Years: 45.2% ABV)

Visual: A very dark amber gold.

Viscosity: Comes down thick and as a single sheet.

Nose: Rye bread. Spice. Shelled husks. Faint oil air. Orange peel. Water lightens mainly without adding much.

Body: Very sweet and spiced. Orange liquor. Sherry soaked red grapes. Treacle. Muscat grapes. Chives. Rye bread.

Finish: Red grapes. Mulled spice. A scented candle like oddity that hands around just at the back of the nostrils. Quite dry. Treacle and herbal.

Conclusion: Not for the faint of heart this one. Before drinking it I thought I had worked out the rough range of flavour the Bourbon played with. Then this passed my lips and I realized I was wrong.

Very sweet with this almost liquore touches countered by very herbal mulled wine styling. The more traditional Bourbon flavours expected show them underneath that, but on top it is all dancing spicy flavour.

Unfortunately you acclimatise to this shock too quickly. It is such a pleasant experience that I would like to be surprised anew on each sip, but the eye blinking oddity loses its punch as you get used to it.  That doesn’t mean it becomes bad, just that you can only really have that surprise once.

Also, don’t add water, it doesn’t seem to benefit and water  kills some of the higher elements in it.

So it had wondrous first sips and  then a tingling spiciness that makes for fair decent flavour by itself. Reminds me a bit of Muscat cask ageing and that’s a fair impressive feat.  Overall very impressive without compromising the core elements. I will definitely have to try the even older versions.

Background: Made at the Buffalo Trace distillery, this is apparently a wheated Bourbon. Best I know that means that despite it containing elements that I was convinced was rye bread like, there was actually no rye used to make it. Go figure.  Drunk at the Rummer Hotel. I have been having a lot of Scottish whisky recently and decided to give their Bourbon selection a try for a change. No I don’t know what “Lot B” is.  Twelve years is bloody old for a Bourbon, I didn’t think they survived well aged for more than six. Obviously I was wrong