Here is a new product launched by Luxco in late 2018. Luxco is widely known to source from Heaven Hill so it's highly likely this is 7 year old cask strength Heaven Hill bourbon. It's rare this day and age we see a new cask strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey carrying an age statement that is both affordable and easy to obtain but in some sort of weird 2010 time-warp, here we are. I thought the Old Ezra 7 year 101 (which has been discontinued) was pretty good so I'm going into this expecting the same quality.
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey; Aged 7 Years; 58.5% ABV; $35
Nose: Typical woody bourbon with decent age. There is a bit of peanut, cherry, and a little cedar element to the wood notes. The proof is pretty evident but not overpowering - about right where it should be for nearly 60% ABV.
Taste: Like the nose, it's pretty consistent with the core bourbon wheelhouse of vanilla/oak/caramel. There is more of the light cherry note and some peanut, something that is increasingly more common for me in Heaven Hill bourbons lately. It has some rye spice and decent amount of wood depth with minimal young, grainy mash notes. The proof is certainly there and it's a touch bold but certainly very drinkable.
Thoughts: This is exactly what it should be - a classic, no frills, no bullshit bourbon. It isn't going to blow you away as the most amazing bourbon you've ever had but it delivers the solid quality that you'd expect of a middle aged whiskey from a tenured distillery. If this had been released by Heaven Hill I think Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Jr would be an apt product name as that's what it tastes like. Considering the price, stats, and how easy this was for me to obtain, I'm calling this my best bourbon of 2018.
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.