Traverse City 7 Year Barrel Proof "B&B Private Barrel" Bourbon
The entire Bitters & Bottles team tends to weigh in on our barrel selections, and while a consensus generally forms around whether or not the samples are up to snuff, and which one is the favorite - it's never universal. This is to be expected, we're a diverse team of unique palates and everyone has particular styles or spirits they tend to favor. This particular barrel of Kentucky bourbon is the most universally acclaimed of the year - with nearly every B&B member's review going something like, "oh wow... but that's so good." And in between our barrel selection this spring, and the bottling in late summer, it managed to get even better. At 62% abv, it's plenty bold. Unlike other famous Kentucky bottlings in this age and proof range though (which have grown increasingly rare), that high abv doesn't come off boozy or hot, acting as a fantastic counterpoint to an incredible depth of rich flavors and complexity.
Brought to us by way of the Traverse City Whiskey Co., a distillery and bottler that has been providing beautiful Northern Michigan with whiskey since 2011. They caught our attention when they launched their barrel program, sourcing whiskey and bottling it uncut and unfiltered at barrel proof. Now, that in itself isn't terribly peculiar, but when the folks at Traverse City came to us with barrels from Kentucky's beloved Barton 1792 distillery, we were smitten. There aren't many chances at private barrels from Barton, and it's an incredibly rewarding change of pace.
This barrel was made from their high rye (21%) mash bill, and was aged for just over 7 years before being bottled at 124 proof. The first aromas out of the glass are of super lush caramel apple, cinnamon, tart cherries, and cornbread, with a hint of root beer, basil, and grassy herbs. The palate is huge, viscous, and sweet. Ooey-gooey. Milk chocolate covered pretzels and toffee, more caramel apple, oregano, coffee cake, cinnamon spice, and a bit of drying oak. The finish announces itself on your tongue, which feels completely coated in oily goodness before leaving with more chocolate and herbs. Truly exceptional.