Some would say that selecting a barrel of bourbon is all fun. It is a very enjoyable experience. Going to a barrel warehouse with a master distiller to thief a barrel is a true sensory experience. Even sitting with a group with samples pulled from barrels from a distillery too far away to drive, is a great way to learn about what styles each barrel represents. Not all barrel samples are a taste treat. Finding a barrel that sings is a wonderful way to pick a barrel. And thus, the challenge is finding the barrel that we feel represents our “house” style and is atypical when compared to the commercial versions selected by the master distillers.
Westport Whiskey & Wine’s “house” style relies on great aromatics, from fruit, cream, vanilla and wood spices. The flavor is rich, lush and not astringent. It may be robust and warm, but never harsh. When splashed the flavors should open-up all the more. We believe that the selections below truly represent our house style, and great values, too.
CURRENT SELECTIONS (06.24.19)
WhistlePig, 10yr, Single Barrel #72263, WW&W Selection, 57.7% ABV, $93.99
The aroma is full of butter with hints of green herbs and wood spice. In the mouth it is viscous, creamy, very rich with a long spicy finish.
Old Forester, Single Barrel #4195, WW&W Selection, 45% ABV, $45.99
When looking for a single barrel you want it to seduce you right from the aromatics and have you in its clutches by the time you swallow, and this one had me at “hello!” The nose is filled with cinnamon and baking spices with a hint of citrus. One in the mouth it is creamy with chocolate and a warm cinnamon roll. With a bit of water, it blossomed with red fruits, cream and a hint of tobacco. The taste held the sweet creaminess we love with a lovely balance of wood spices and a very nice finish.
New Riff, Single Barrel #15-3161 Bourbon, WW&W Selection, 54.95% abv $49.99
Aromas of spice, citrus with a nice floral accent. Creamy upon entry that eased its way to a nice oily mid palate that keeps layering flavors of spice. It finishes warm and smooth.
Wild Turkey, Kentucky Spirit, Single Barrel #18-0859, WW&W Selection, 50.5% abv $61.99
Another great selection from the Camp Nelson barrel warehouses. Originally distilled on November 4, 2009, this whiskey is a little over 9 years old. It is full of red fruit and spice in the aroma. The entry is sweet and fruity. It builds into a big mouthfeel and finishes long and creamy, with a hint of tobacco.
Grass Widow Bourbon, Single Barrel, 59.6% abv $78.99
Grass Widow Bourbon comes from Two James Spirits, the first distillery to open in Detroit, Michigan since prohibition. With the help of distiller David Pickerell, Grass Widow, named for a regional pre-Prohibition whiskey brand, is a sourced high-rye bourbon mash bill (36% rye, 60% corn, 4% barley) blend that was aged in new oak, then given a finish in ex-Madeira casks.
Aroma of toffee with hints of butterscotch that has hints of cinnamon. It is sweet on entry with a nice vanilla and slight cereal grain note. It is rich in the middle and spicy on the finish. For 59.6% abv, this is really smooth.
Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Personal Selection, 45.2% abv, Liter $58.99
This is a two-barrel batch from Woodford Reserve. Barrel #2 of 6 was very nutty and spicy, with a warm vanilla entry and woody finish. Barrel #4 of 6 had strong aromas of cream, vanilla and spice. A little lean on its own, but also had a wonderful finish. Together when batched, there are bold notes of oranges, cherries and spice. Very nice, pleasant entry. The min-palate is greeted with spice and a warm finish.
Russell’s Reserve, Single Barrel #18-0064, 55% abv, $62.99
Our first barrel selection of 2019 and it was a great start to this year. We tasted through 8 barrels with Eddie Russell and went back to our first barrel of the day (we ended up with 3 when it was all said and done). This was tasted at 113.6 proof, so it was so close to its final cut of 110.
Classic red fruit notes with a hint of orange zest, which we so enjoy in a Russell’s Reserve. The flavors of vanilla, cream yields to a sweet, yummy, mouthfeel. It finishes with a lovely toffee, spicy flavor. Enjoy!
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, Barrel Finish Select – Feb 2019, 45.2% abv, $64.99
Selected on a cold day this past February, this one quickly warmed the soul and the taste buds. Butterscotch and dark plum notes filled the nose. The entry was all vanilla cream, laced with brown-sugar spice and a bit of wood. It was bold and robust. With some drops of water, the nose blossomed to a rich sweet note that you would want from Woodford Double Oaked. It showed a depth of spicy chocolate and a nutty finish.
Makers Mark, Private Selection, WW&W Single Barrel #8, 59.75% abv, $74.99
Once again, we worked with The Butchertown Grocery on a repeat of 4 staves for our 8th selection. This time we pulled from only 4 stave combinations. Nice fruity nose of pear and cherry with light spice. The entry is big, bold and chocolaty with a fruit finish and hint of pepper. On a second taste there as a maple cream element added to the aroma with spicy, almost meaty flavor. Chris
Selected and greatly anticipated:
- Russell’s Reserve Bourbon
- Kentucky Spirit Bourbon
- Blanton’s Bourbon
- 1792 Bottled in Bond Bourbon
- Four Roses OBSV 100 proof Bourbon
- W L Weller Barrel Proof Bourbon
- Knob Creek Bourbon
- Whistle Pig Rye
- Knob Creek Rye
- Elijah Craig Bourbon
- New Riff Bourbon
- Wilderness Trail Wheated Bourbon
- Wilderness Trail Bourbon
- Wilderness Trail Rye