I’m a sucker for a good barrel finish on a bourbon. Sure, some purists will yell ‘sacrilege’ or ‘that’s not bourbon’! I say relax, no one’s forcing you to drink it. Whiskey, for me, is about exploration of flavors and aromas. Well done barrel finishes can complement and enhance a whiskey’s flavors. On the other hand, sometimes a bad whiskey can be only be saved by a decent barrel finish.
Thankfully, this release from Bardstown Bourbon Company falls in the former category. Its Armagnac cask finish here is exquisite, enhancing the sweet, fruity notes of the whiskey. The casks are from Château de Laubade. My first, and only, experience with the Armagnac producer is a Vintage 1980 expression I bought a couple of years ago. That 38-year-old single cask Armagnac was so luscious, I wish I’d bought a backup bottle or two.
Bardstown Bourbon Company Château de Laubade is part of their Collaborative Series, which partners Bardstown Bourbon Company with other wine/spirits companies to provide casks in which to finish their bourbon. This Château de Laubade release is a 12-year-old straight bourbon whiskey sourced from Indiana finished in Château de Laubade Armagnac casks for 18 months. It is bottled at 118.4 proof, or 59.2% abv, and carries a suggested retail price of $124.99.
The nose has hints of honeyed fruit, raisins, caramel, and spice. A little airtime reveals a touch of earthiness. On the palate, cinnamon stick and brioche meets dried apricot and raisin. Some vanilla, tobacco, and toasted oak also come through. The long finish sees lingering notes of wine, burnt orange peel, and spice.
This Bardstown Bourbon Company release is phenomenal. It’s a beautiful marriage of bourbon and Armagnac that results in a rich, dessert-like whiskey, perfect for an after dinner pour. Highly recommended!