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Nose: ethanol heat, notes of caramel and cherry intermingle for a pleasant smell once the ethanol comes off
Palate: an explosion of cherry! Surprisingly little heat given the nose. Caramel follows with a touch of vanilla
Finish: Theres the heat! Not surprising with a 135 proofer. After the scorch, a pleasant oak remains behind to entice another taste
Fascinating—I have never experienced this much disparity between barrels. My OF barrel strength is similar in character to Jack Daniels Barrel Proof: very alcohol forward, big & sweet & tasty but with an unremarkable mouthfeel—an easy bottle to like, but a hard one to love. The OF barrel proof Private pick I just tried at The Norman in OK is a different beast. It has the same elegant mouthfeel of the George T Stagg, so perfectly balanced that it’s 132 proof drinks like it’s 105. Where mine is rough, this is somehow equally delicate & massive—much closer to the OF 117. One is good but not great, the other one of the finest bottles I’ve ever tasted.
While not reaching the unassailable greatness of the 1920 and 117 for me, cranked up OF is still one of my favorite things on the shelf at present. All the OF notes I love, dialed a little higher—what’s not to love?