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 (11.14.19)
Wild Turkey, Kentucky Spirit, Single Barrel #19-0209, WW&W Selection, 101 proof, 750ml, $62.99
Camp Nelson warehouse A. Barreled on New Year’s Eve, 2009, this 9-year-old bourbon is fruit laden with caramel and floral hints in the nose. In the mouth it is very complex, peppery, woody, spicy rye notes are balanced with a nutty, almost bacon fat flavors. There is a pleasant orange zest that really helps the long finish spicy finish. Not your normal Chris pick, but really tasty.
Bulleit, Bourbon, WW&W Single Barrel #1, 104 proof, 750ml, $61.99
We were excited to be able to finally pick a barrel from the new Bulleit distillery outside of Shelbyville. We once again, partnered with Butchertown Grocery and selected 2 barrels back in late August.
This is the first of those 2 barrels. The nose is full of ginger and orange peel, with a hint of leather. This was a mouthful of flavors that delivered from entry to finish. Think orange jelly candy, toast, vanilla, warm and well balanced. At a 104 proof it drinks easily and is quite tasty over ice as well.
Maker’s Mark Private Selection, WW&W Single Barrel #8, 107.4 proof, 750ml, $74.99
We revisited our original Private Selection from 2015 which is 2 staves of Seared French Cuvee and 4 staves each of Roasted French Mocha and Toasted French Spice. Before barreling, that resultant whiskey was richly aromatic, delivering big fruit and cream notes. The entry was sweet and creamy, lush in the mid palate, with a lovely, woody, warm finish. After the cellaring, and now here, we found that the whiskey delivers on that taste. We hope that you, too, will find it as “yummy” as we do.
Knob Creek, Rye, Single Barrel #8006, WW&W Selection, 115 proof, 750ml, $52.99
Toasted rye bread with orange zest jump from the glass, followed by classic herbal rye notes. It is warm on entry with a bit of vanilla and oily texture that carries the spicy flavors to the end with a bold finish. We split this barrel with our friends at Butchertown Grocery.
New Riff, Single Barrel #15-4862, Bourbon, WW&W Selection, 110.3 proof, $49.99
Aromas of toffee, nutmeg with a hint of pipe tobacco. Tastes of vanilla layer over a mélange of butter, nuts and baking spices. It finishes spicy, warm and long.
Wilderness Trail, Rye, WW&W Single Barrel, 112 proof, 750ml, $67.99
Aromas of maple, fruit and spice. The initial sweet taste blossoms into a spicy, rich, round mouthfeel. It has a long spicy finish, quite tasty.
Peerless, WW&W Single Barrel, Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, 108.8 proof, 750ml, $96.99
Buttercream, spice & toast defined the aroma on the day we selected this barrel with our friends at Butchertown Grocery. It was fruity, sweet with a rich, full mid-palate and lush, long, spicy finish.
Knob Creek, Single Barrel #8499, Bourbon, WW&W Selection, 120 proof, $54.99
Knob Creek Selections are always a challenge. The range of tastes that each barrel presents can be overly tannic to sweet and round. However once consistent element is the great aroma. This is a spicy, dried cherry with hints of orange and a bit of pipe tobacco. The mouthfeel is robust, immediately warm, good toast flavor followed by spice, hints of cream and sweet vanilla are there, too.
Driftless Glen Bourbon, WW&W Single Barrel #199, 111.2 proof, 750ml, $58.99
Driftless Glenn is a small craft distiller in the “Driftless Region” next to the Baraboo River in Wisconsin. Ok, it’s not Kentucky, we know, but Sean McCollian the owner has really crafted one fine bourbon. Utilizing smaller, 25 gallon barrels, you will note the really deep, dark color. With aromas of almonds and other honey-roasted nutty notes that yield to a creamy, nutty flavor with a balance mouthfeel and a long warm finish. We look forward to our next selection as they are doing things really well.
Wilderness Trail Bourbon, WW&W Single Barrel 15C #4, Barrel Strength 108 proof, 750ml, $67.99
This is the first release of their wheated mashbill as a single barrel. We were excited to taste through 3 different barrels. The aroma was full of dried fruits, sweet and layered with toffee. It starts of sweet and it is round, rich and nicely balanced. The flavors linger long on the finish. 223 bottle yield.
Pinhook, Rye, WW&W Single Barrel, 54.5% abv, 109 proof, $67.99
Pinhook first established itself as a rye whiskey, having originally sourced their barrels. Sean Thomas, Founder/Master Taster, quickly establish a reputation for batching some very tasty ryes. When we approached him about doing a single barrel of their whiskey he enthusiastically said “yes,” and the process began. We are thrilled to offer the first single barrel of Pinhook to the market. The aroma has hints of dill and mint that complement the ripe pear and exotic spices. The entry is elegantly spicy, not a big overwhelming taste. You know it is rye. The mouthfeel is rich with a nicely spiced viscosity. It is surprisingly sweet on the finish and the 109 proof is warm but not astringent. The flavor lingers long and welcoming.
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.
Selected and greatly anticipated:
- Russell’s Reserve Bourbon
- W L Weller Barrel Proof Bourbon
- Knob Creek Bourbon (4)
- Elijah Craig Bourbon
- New Riff Bourbon
- Wilderness Trail Traditional Bourbon
- Bulleit Bourbon
- Yellowstone Bourbon