NOTES ABOUT 12 DAYS OF BOURBON CHOICES 2016
For those of you wanting to know more about the bourbons and the truffles for this year’s set, check back with this page. As we get the pairings completed, we’ll update the notes here.
The first day features a bourbon from Rabbit Hole’s first release of their bourbon. It’s always exciting when a new distiller brings their products to market, and we made sure to grab one of these especially for this set.
The high-malt recipe of the bourbon — 30% of the mashbill is malted grains — makes for a uniquely sippable and smooth bourbon, with gentle honey tones and a pleasing finish. We used a milk chocolate to accent those honey notes, and a dark to enrobe it and bring back subtle dry, woody tones.
This year’s 12 Days of Bourbon truffle collection will go on pre-sale on our website on Black Friday and will be shipped out or available for pickup on December 11th, 2017. Limited quantities available.
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For the second day we have brought out an Elijah Craig Barrel Proof release #10. Consistently one of the best values in bourbon for it’s age and proof, this is a big, friendly bourbon with a sweet start that gradually opens into a long, expansive and lasting oak and spice finish.
Kelly has chosen dark chocolates that leave room for the sweeter tones but still make sure the woody, oak tones have room to play. The finish is only a little tannic and will stay with you.
The third day brings a celebratory bourbon from Willett: their 80th Anniversary release. Willett has a well-earned reputation for putting out some spectacular whiskies, and this one is no exception. We think this is an approachable but flavorful bourbon that is worthy of a special release.
The nose brings spearmint and fresh-cut tobacco. On the palate, the tobacco changes to a dry-cured one, and the spearmint follows and eventually leads to a gentle, slightly tannic finish.
A barrel selection of Wathen’s from the Bourbon Society jumps in at the fourth day. This is a very straight-forward, unapologetic bourbon that comes off warmer than its 94 proof.
The profile on this truffle is similarly direct. Clean, clear bourbon notes are offset by a little sweetness of the chocolate.
The fifth day sees the 225th Anniversary release from 1792. This 10-year-old expression was only released in Kentucky earlier this year. This was a chance to share some of the bounty of our Commonwealth with folks who might not otherwise get to taste it.
This is a delicious, high-rye bourbon is sweet, light on the palate and incredibly smooth – it sneaks up on you through the chocolate. It transitions to an enduring spicy finish.
On the sixth day, we selected a premium release from one of the best respected names in bourbon: Wild Turkey® Masters’ Keep Decades. This bourbon seems to be reasonably easy to come by, but the price may keep casual tasters away. It’s a spectacular example of Wild Turkey and mingles 10 and 20 year old bourbons.
The nose was light, with prominent tobacco, oak, cedar and citrus notes, and all of those are found in the truffle. An expansive, spice is tempered with oak and leather. This is a perfect truffle to enjoy with a book by a warm fireplace.
On the seventh day, we chose a bourbon that rested in some fine wine casks. This truffle features Jefferson’s Sauterne Cask Finish to add a little variety to this year’s offering.
Kelly chose chocolates to play on the sweet wine notes that are prominent in this bourbon, and overall she addressed this truffle more like she would with a brandy. Grape overtones, overripe peach and a slightly tannic, wine-like finish make this a standout truffle.
Julian Van Winkle’s bourbons are widely sought-after and for good reason. This year, we went back into our archives a bit for the 2013 release of the Van Winkle Special Reserve Lot B.
What struck us when sampling was that this wasn’t as sweet as we expected a wheated bourbon to be. It was light on the palate, smooth and delicious, with nice smoke overtones and a pleasant, soft tannic finish. Kelly picked chocolates to help highlight those smokey notes and to keep the sweetness under control.
The ninth days sees a newer distiller making an appearance for the first time. We have a Barrel Pick of Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend provided to us by the Bourbon Cartel. Joseph Magnus has started making a splash with bourbon lovers and we wanted to showcase this exceptional bourbon. Finishing the bourbon in Armagnac, Sherry and Cognac casks imparts a nice complexity that is shown off by pairing it with a cigar, and it does lovely things with chocolate too!
The nose is full of tobacco, and the first sip brims with deliciously sweet undertones and a prominent spice and a long, lingering, warm finish. Lightly tannic at the end, Kelly focused on accenting the spice and leaving room for the tobacco overnotes.
We kick into high gear on the tenth day, with a bourbon with a kick – George T. Stagg. One of the unicorns of the bourbon world, this is the first time we’ve gotten our hands on one. Let’s just say it has earned its reputation. Big, woody, complex, high proof (but very, very drinkable) and flavorful with a rich mouth feel, this is one we will hunt down again.
Big barrel proof bourbons can be tough to pair sometimes because we have to be conscious of the alcohol content. This one is no different. Kelly chose some less complex chocolates and just got out of the way of this bourbon. Let the wood and spice wrap you up and enjoy the ride.
On the eleventh day, we wanted to honor the legacy of a bourbon legend, and so we chose the Four Roses Al Young edition. This one disappeared off the shelves quickly and we were lucky to score a bottle. This is an incredibly smooth barrel-proof bourbon, with a lingering finish. Although some older bourbons were part of the blend, they didn’t bring any sharp tannins or wood, but served to smooth out the spirit nicely.
Pay attention to how this bourbon eases onto your palate in the truffle, and settles in for that smooth, spicy finish that Four Roses is so well-known for. We may have set ourselves an impossible task, but we tried to make this one as loveable as Al Young himself.
For the twelfth day we chose a hard-to-get bourbon that is much sought after. Making its first appearance, we have Kentucky Owl bourbon in the spotlight. Our bottle was from Batch 7, and it was spicy, with a drying finish. There were some grassy notes as we let it linger. Oaky on the nose, there was less wood than we expected for the age on the bourbons.
Kelly went with chocolates that can let the spicy, cinnamon notes through while still allowing the grass through on the finish as a top note.