Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Belle Meade Cask Strength Reserve Review

Nelson's Green Brier is a local distillery in Nashville that has been distilling their own bourbon for about 2 years. Like most other startup distilleries, they have been selling a sourced product while their own distillate comes of age. Belle Meade currently comes in quite a few forms, all of which is based on MGP bourbon. Of all their products, I find their higher aged cask strength single barrels to be the best. MGP bourbon like any single barrel can vary in quality though and as such off the shelf bottles can sometimes be a slight gamble. That's why I was intrigued to learn the Nelson's released a new product, Belle Meade Cask Strength Reserve. According to the website, it is a cask strength, non chill filtered, small batch blend of 7-11 year old high rye bourbon.
No Age Statement; 59.4% ABV; Batch no. 1; $60
Nose: Classic spicy bourbon. Vanilla and caramel wood sweets with tons of rye spice. The heat is well tamed for 120 proof.
Taste: Honey caramel sweets upfront, spicy cinnamon blast in the middle, and a finish of sweet / spicy oak. Throughout the start and finish are the hallmark red fruit notes I usually get in Four Roses OBSV which makes sense since MGP shares the mother V yeast with them. While there are touches of old oak, the wood notes have a lot of maturity and depth without being overly bitter. 
Thoughts: This is great - sweet, spice forward, and the right amount of wood balance. Unlike some older MGP bourbons I've had that could be a touch too bitter, the blend of ages is really working well. On top of all that, it's rather easy to drink considering it's 120 proof. While this isn't quite the best MGP bourbon I've ever had, it's better than any MGP bourbon I've had in quite a while. I love that this is a blend so if you get the same batch you know exactly what you are getting. I wish more folks buying up MGP whiskey would do this with their older stock.
Rating: B+
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.

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