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I just tried Bardstown's Château De Laubade finish and it blew me away, so I'm excited to be trying this one! I'm usually pretty skeptical of red wine finishes, but that last one had a nice flavor that made me think of cabernet sauvignon and I'm hopeful to find more of it here since this was actually finished in cabernet sauvignon casks.
N: Oh, this is interesting. It's restrained, but I get something like red currants and blueberries covered in frost. There is some funky, musty, tannic barrel that definitely seems like French oak. The bourbon isn't super bold, but I do get some restrained caramel, tangerine, vanilla, and spice - notes that kind of give me an impression somewhere in the vicinity of Buffalo Trace. A touch of youthful meat, but not too much. Some bitter vanilla as well.
Overall, this is a kind of odd nose, but in a good way. It keeps me wanting to come back to it. Not the most balanced, but I like it.
P: A touch oily with a moderate mouthfeel. The wine fruit (cherry and blackberry - though some tangerine too) comes out more than I'd like, as does some funky terroir. There are still some nice tannins and barrel spices (starring cinnamon), but the funk is kind of throwing them off too. I'm definitely getting some bitterness from the tannins, but it's kind of flat.
F: Kind of sweet red fruit from the wine with bits of terroir funk and some bitter barrels. Licorice and vanilla as well. It's not great, but it's pretty enjoyable.
- Conclusion -
Wild Turkey Rare Breed (18/23) is fuller with more of a nice traditional bourbon flavor than this has, even though the Wild Turkey is kind of challengingly funky on its own. Coming back to this, I am getting some more mellow bourbon flavors from it, but there's this sort of tacked-on red wine character. I just am not really sure how well the two go together. This is kind of in the range of the Wild Turkey. It's more complex and less brash, but it's also more out of whack. Eh, I don't know: this might be growing on me. My palate might actually be a little bit toast after the bold armagnac finishes I tried before this.
Russell's Reserve 10 (15-16/23) is a bit lighter than this, but it has a more typical profile, whereas this is pretty funky. I kind of prefer the direction that the Russell's is going, but this does fill in some gaps that it has.
Although I do enjoy this, it's quite clear to me that the Bardstown Laubade is much better. This is further evidence that brandy finishes are good for bourbon, whereas red wine finishes don't do as well.
Coming back to this, I'm inclined to place it below the Wild Turkey. It's more in the Russell's range, though I might lean slightly higher. This isn't my final sip, but if I had to choose right now, I'd go with a 16.
Thanks, @Milliardo , for sharing this fun dram!