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January 25, 2024 (edited January 31, 2024)
5.0 out of 5 stars
Well this is the 3rd Yellowstone I have reviewed… and now even more of a fan. All the flavor notes are spot on with this nice mellow bourbon with about the best smoothness of any bourbon I’ve tried. One to keep on the bar top!
January 20, 2024 (edited January 31, 2024)
3.75 out of 5 stars
Another Limestone Branch trip, another master distiller signed bottle, and another beautiful piece to round out my shelf. Originally I had no interest in this product, mostly because they have another product with "toasted barrel" right on the label. Because of the confusion, I emailed the distillery before this product even released, in order to help clarify the differences, and never received a response. 3+ months later, I happened to be in the area for some other distillery hopping, and couldn't resist stopping by for an updated tour, since I haven't had an official tour in ~6 years. During the tasting, both this product and the "Toasted Barrel" black label product were tasted, definitely with noticeable differences, but the explanation there was what I finally wanted. Apparently the black label product utilized a multi-use barrel from several kinds of spirits, and was never explained when I first purchased that. This toasted "finish" product, on the other hand, was explained as the more traditional aging, then inserting toasted barrel staves to finish it for a short period of time. At the distillery, I was told that American oak was used, but now I see from the Distiller description that many types of staves were used, in addition to American oak. I hope that this mess and lack of information sharing by the distillery is no indication to how the Yellowstone line will be expanding and changing, especially since these new products are all very unique and have noticeably different flavor profiles.
The color reflects the classic chestnut brown in the center of the glass, but the meniscus is very light, almost straw or lemony yellow; expected for the 4 year base, but the toasted staves may be responsible for the added lightness. The nose is full of freshly cooked grain, mostly too young but with enough barrel character to add a much-needed sweetness. There are also shockingly specific notes of lemon zest, toasted baking spices, fresh strawberry jam, and some light florality on a creamy, dry finish with a touch of burn from the ethanol. Surprisingly, these are all the basic notes I expected from all the added staves that were used, and I didn't expect all the very different profiles to meld together so well.
The body begins with very light flavors, but lacks the watery character found in lighter proofs. Vanilla is one of the first flavors that rises up, alongside light toasted spices and a general florality. The vanilla really continues, with some light caramel alongside it, with the body picking up the spices and gum burn from the ethanol without being unapproachable. All the notes found on the nose from the toasted staves are all tasted in a small amount, but all at once instead of being layered as they were then on the nose. The finish falls off fairly quickly as far as the toasted flavors go, but the original bourbon base sticks around with some young corn, while the rye flavors push into the outer surface of the gums.
In the end, it's not that I'm surprised that the toasted stave flavor came through as much as it did, but instead it's shocking how concentrated those flavors are, and how much each type of stave was represented here. Because flavors of the young grain and fresh, still fairly aggressive corn are tasted throughout sips, this leads me to think that perhaps the young overall age of the base bourbon here are what led to the toasted flavors coming through the way they did. My mind naturally wants to compare this to a particular popular wheated bourbon that allows custom staves to be added to a finishing process, but I've never been able to dissect a lot of those added stave flavors from that product as much as I have been here. I'd love to see more finished bourbons and American whiskeys in general, but of those, I'd be more curious to see young base whiskeys used and then letting any additional age time desired to be done with the finishing wood. After all, the longer a whiskey ages, the more character it has by itself, and the more it should never be adjusted from that well-earned journey. All said, if you're looking for a quality toasted finished bourbon (and don't mind a slightly higher proof and body) on the market for a very similar price, go for this, especially over the black label/black sheep "toasted barrel" product from the same distillery.
January 12, 2024 (edited February 18, 2024)
2.25 out of 5 stars
YELLOWSTONE TOASTED OAK STAVES
NOSE: Unimpressed. Young Corn, Raw Oak, a Hint of Brown Sugar, Char, a Slight Savory Note, and a little Stinging Heat. Does get better with time as some Crisp Apple, Rye Spice, and Fennel Seed appear.
NEAT: Slightly better than the nose, but the overall vibe is the same. Youthful and Tannic with Mild Toasted Marshmallow and Charred Oak. Burnt Oak Finish with Wood Spice Coating and Lingering.
SPLASH: Helps with the tannins, but it takes on a weird medicinal taste (kids' antibiotic?)
VERDICT: I have liked most Yellowstone offerings, but have really only been wowed by the Hand Picked Select Cask Strength (which is Barton sourced). This one I didn't care for at all. It's almost as if the youth was amplified by the Toasted Oak staves. Maker's 46 does this MUCH better, and for $15 less.
December 15, 2023 (edited January 31, 2024)
3.5 out of 5 stars
I enjoy toasted bourbons, so naturally I had to give this a go. Unfortunately, this only falls somewhere mid pack vs the others I've tried. Its not bad, but along with the sweet toasted caramel notes, theres a slight old cooking oil sort of mustiness undertone that cones through on the finish. I'm enjoying this bottle, but for a few dollars more I much prefer Old forester 1910 or Woodford double oak. Also, this one isnt in wide distribution in my area.