Score: 94 points
This Bourbon may be even harder to find than the vaunted Pappy Van Winkle, since it’s a single cask (Barrel #398) and fewer than 50 bottles were produced at 65.3% ABV. Distillery 291 in Colorado Springs has been making some excellent whiskies over the last several years, and this Aspen stave-finished Bourbon has an intensity reminiscent of vintage George T. Stagg bottlings.
The nose has touches of pine needles and mint along with dried fruits, hints of black pepper and cinnamon, honey, and vanilla. The taste, though, is where the spices come out, slap you around, and make you want to cry for Momma. The baking spices are complemented nicely by oak tannins, dried fruits, vanilla, and honey – and adding just a few drops of water barely calms the spices down. The finish is long and spicy – duhhh, but still well-balanced with dried fruits and honey. Anyone can make an intense whisky, but it takes skill to balance intensity with complexity, and this one does it brilliantly! (June, 2019)