Luxco

Blood Oath Pact No. 3 Announced

Luxco’s third release of their limited edition Blood Oath is set to be released in April.  Each year features a different blend.  Pact No. 3 is a blend of two 7-year bourbons and a 12-year bourbon.  One of the 7-year bourbons was finished in cabernet sauvignon casks from Swanson Vineyards in Napa Valley.  

“These carefully selected bourbons come together for a spicy, yet incredibly smooth flavor profile. By finishing some of the bourbon in cabernet sauvignon barrels, I was able to drive more character and depth into the bourbon,” says John Rempe, creator of Blood Oath and Director of Corporate Research and Development at Luxco. “Not only will you taste the spiciness of the rye along with the sweet notes from the wine barrels, but you’ll also taste strong caramel and chocolate overtones, giving it a velvety, well-balanced finish.”

Like previous versions, Blood Oath Pact No. 3 is bottled at 98.6 proof and retails for $99.99.  It is a one-time release of 10,000 bottles.  I enjoyed the first two release.  Read my notes for Pact No. 1and Pact No. 2.

Luxco is currently building a distillery in Bardstown. In fact, their still was installed just last week (as of the writing of this post). In the meantime, they continue to source their whiskies and are doing a fine job at picking barrels and blending whiskies.

Rebel Yell 10-Year-Old Single Barrel Bourbon Review

Earlier this year I was invited to a Luxco event in St. Louis.  At some point I was offered a pour of Rebel Yell Single Barrel.  It’s been a few years since I’ve tried it, but I’m not the biggest fan of the standard Rebel Yell.  I remember it being a bit one dimensional.  (I have a bottle and will give it a fresh tasting soon.) Presented with this opportunity I thought, “what the hell.”  The whiskey instantly struck a chord with me.  I liked it.  I REALLY liked it.

Rebel Yell Single Barrel is aged 10 years and is bottled at 100 proof.  That’s a long way from the standard bottling.  As far as I know, it still shares the same wheated mashbill and is most likely sourced from Heaven Hill.  Luxco states there will be about 2000 cases of Rebel Yell Single Barrel in 2016, and double that next year.  My sample is from barrel # 4744359.

The presentation also sees an upgrade over the standard Rebel Yell bottling.  This one comes in a nice cardstock box.  The bottle itself stands tall, with a thick glass base.  I like that the barrel number is handwritten.  I’m a sucker for handwritten labels.  Onto the whiskey…

The nose is vibrant (but not young) with aromas of vanilla pudding, honey butter biscuits, light toffee, and sweet corn, with a feint floral note buried beneath.  Kettle corn hits the palate first, followed closely by vanilla bean and carmelized brown sugar.  Wood spice begins to pick up on the mid palate, providing a touch of cinnamon and clove.  The finish starts sweet, but soon transitions to slightly-astringent, thanks to the oak tannins.  This is a really easy-drinking bourbon with character.

Why is this so much better than the standard Rebel Yell?  I think the answer is simple: age and proof.  The standard bottling is at least two years old and 80 proof.  This single barrel offering is 10 years old and 100 proof.  Luxco has a hit on their hands with this one, so long as there are consistently good quality barrels in their inventory.  Rebel Yell 10 year single barrel is priced right too, coming in at about $50 a bottle.  Make no mistake – this is no bottle shelf whiskey.  I said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I think Rebel Yell Single Barrel is the best whiskey Luxco currently has on the market.

8.5/10

Thanks to Luxco for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

David Nicholson Reserve Bourbon Review

A new expression under the David Nicholson banner, David Nicholson Reserve carries a traditional corn-rye-barley mash bill compared to the standard wheated David Nicholson 1843.  Luxco has owned the brand since 2000.  This new variant hit shelves this past summer for a suggest price of $34.99 – $39.99.  I’m not too familiar with the David Nicholson brand.  Writer Chuck Cowdery has a great article giving a bit of brand history.

There’s a sweet and spicy nose here, dominated by brown sugar, cinnamon, and buttered corn with undertones of toasted rye bread and black cherry.  Taste-wise, sweet brown sugar, sharp rye grain and sugared orange peel are followed by spicy cinnamon bark.  Then, maraschino cherries emerge mid-palate.  Some oak tannins and barrel char finish things off, alongside a medium-length semi-sweet finish.

Why one David Nicholson expression carries a wheated mashbill and the other a rye-based mashbill is beyond me.  It would be like if WL Weller Special Reserve being a wheater and their 12-year being a rye-based bourbon (that’s not the case).  It makes no sense.  And before you ask – yes, Luxco has sourced this whiskey.  It’s a pretty open secret, and at this point doesn’t really matter.  Regardless, I like what’s going on here, especially for the price. It’s a great sipping bourbon with some complexity and just enough flavor and depth to keep you coming back. In other words, I could drink this all day.

8/10

Thanks to Luxco for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.