Today’s review is of a whiskey that I looked forward to for a long time when the idea was first announced. Over the course of 2021, I shared this bottle with a ton of people and we all agreed that this was a bourbon worth writing about. Leave it to the fine folks at Single Cask Nation to bring a well-aged bourbon with an interesting twist to market.
If you’ve been following along at home, you probably know that I’m usually not super keen on hyper-aged bourbon. Most 20+ year old bourbon I’ve tried is too overoaked for my palate. Some people love that extreme, wood-dominant profile but it’s usually not for me. Depending on the location, I attribute that to extreme heat cycles in the United States—extremely warm rickhouse conditions in the summer followed by extremely cold conditions in the winter. This variance in temperature drives the whiskey in and out of the wood significantly more than in temperate climates like those found in Scotland and Ireland.
Enter this 24 year old bourbon. While the name of this whiskey’s source cannot be disclosed for contractual reasons, it was produced at a Kentucky distillery that had a well-publicized fire in the 1990s. This was distilled PRE that FIRE and only HEAVEN knows what HILL this whiskey was made on…
…it could have been anywhere, really.
In any case, after aging in the US for twelve years, this bourbon was then transported to Scotland where it aged for an additional twelve years in the much more temperate Scottish climate. Those twelve years of significantly gentler aging should have contributed flavor to this bourbon without the harsh, oak-dominance I try to steer clear of. This is the kind of experiment that a whiskey nerd like me could only dream of. Does the aging climate make a significant difference in the flavor profile of older bourbon? Let’s find out!
Single Cask Nation’s 24 Year Old Bourbon was bottled at 47.4% ABV and is non-chill filtered.
|Nose||Wood smoke, caramel apple, cinnamon, toasted oak, peanuts, orange peel, pipe tobacco, hint of cherry cola. The wood is prominent as expected with a whiskey of this age but it’s not overpowering nor is it astringent like many hyper-aged bourbons. Water brings out roasted chestnuts and maraschino cherries.|
|Taste||Dried berries, orange blossom, charcoal, vanilla ice cream, leather, cherries, deep oak, black tea. The natural cask strength of 47.4% makes this extremely accessible yet full bodied. With water, blackberry jam and some corn sweetness.|
|Finish||Hints of honeyed sweetness first, then drying oak, clove, and burnt sugar with just a hint of floral notes in the background. The finish isn’t bold or particularly long but the sweetness and oak are pleasant. Water brings out a bit more baking spice and citrus atop an oaky finish.|
|Overall Thoughts||It’s nearly impossible to separate hyper-aged bourbon and oak dominance. In the case of this whiskey, however, the oak is one player in a varied ensemble of flavors. There's fruit, nuttiness, spice, and sweetness. There's also lots of oak but it never overpowers the flavor set. I wish more old bourbon could age gently like this. It makes for some truly remarkable whiskey.|