The Milam & Greene brand quietly slipped onto my radar with a few different single barrels (at a surprisingly wide range of ages) that came into some local retailers near me. Each expression I tried was nice but none of them completely blew me away. I had heard good things about the first release of their limited edition Castle Hill Series and was happy to get a sample of Batch 2 to try for myself.
The Castle Hill Series—named after the historic Texas Military Institute that now houses their blending lab—is comprised of well-aged sourced barrels and bottled at barrel proof. This release was made up of 26 barrels that all hovered at or just under 14 years of age. Given how close some of these barrels were to the 14 year mark, it seems that this release followed the philosophy that the whiskey is ready when it’s ready. It’s not stated officially but with 26 barrels going into this release, I’d estimate that there were somewhere around 4,000 bottles of this made.
Here’s the breakdown of the barrels that comprised Batch 2:
- 4 barrels aged 13 years, 10 months, 17 days
- 8 barrels aged 13 years, 10 months, 18 days
- 4 barrels aged 13 years, 10 months, 19 days
- 4 barrels aged 13 years, 11 months, 6 days
- 2 barrels aged 14 years, 1 month, 20 days
- 2 barrels aged 14 years, 2 months, 13 days
- 1 barrel aged 14 years, 2 months, 16 days
- 1 barrel aged 14 years, 3 months, 6 days
The Castle Hill Series Batch 2 was bottled at 55.5% ABV.
|Nose||Toffee, cherry syrup, oak-driven vanilla, aromatic, cinnamon, a touch of cotton candy. Much deeper sweetness develops with water along with and a slight nuttiness.|
|Taste||Earthy, brown sugar, peanuts, corn sweetness, caramel apple, leather, pie crust, assorted dried fruits. More oak-driven and some sharper spice with time and water.|
|Finish||Cinnamon red hots, clove, cherry cola, a bit of chocolate, creme caramel, baked apples. Decent length and very little heat considering the proof. Water brings out some slight herbal notes and earthiness along with ripe peaches.|
|Overall Thoughts||Milam & Greene Castle Hill Batch 2 drinks like the well-aged bourbon it is with some nice structure and depth. The flavor set is fairly straightforward for whiskey of this age with oak influence and deeper/darker flavors abound yet I was surprised at how easily this drank considering the proof point. While the source of the whiskey isn’t on the label, it’s from Tennessee. Say what you will about that distillery, but I think this whiskey is blended in a way that keeps “that note” from presenting itself in an overpowering way. At $150 retail, the price to value ratio is comparable to what I'm seeing for similar limited edition 14(ish) year old products in today's whiskey market.|