Earlier this year we reviewed our first Old Carter whiskey, an impressive 12-year-old single barrel Kentucky bourbon released in 2019. We haven’t seen any single barrels from the Carters yet in 2020, but several batched whiskeys have hit the shelves in Kentucky, California, and D.C. We got our hands on the latest bourbon, Batch 5, which is reportedly a blend of just eight barrels. As with past batch releases, the providence isn’t advertised, but the tell-tale “Distilled in Indiana” on the back label gives us some clue. The price is steep for a no-age-stated, likely MGP bourbon (especially so considering the secondary markups I’ve seen). Let’s see if this one can justify the sticker.
The nose is initially sweet and woody with plenty of tree bark and fresh sawn lumber, something I’ve come to expect from older MGP bourbons. As it opens in the glass, however, the oak gives way to creamy vanilla frosting, pie spice, lemon peel, and orange rock candy. The wood never really fades, but it weaves itself into the aroma well, becoming more toasted coconut and dark chocolate. The palate is rich with a warming heat that builds steadily.
Like the nose, the flavors here are an example of the Carter’s blending skill at work. There’s plenty of resin and barnwood notes and a healthy dose of barrel char, but that’s balanced for the most part by an equal helping of sweets: dark maple syrup, cherry pie, stewed peaches, vanilla custard, and warm toffee. Again, there’s a slightly toasted edge to it all. All that complexity starts to fade a bit into the finish and things thin out a bit, which is somewhat disappointing. Still, there’s a lingering buttery, cinnamon sweetness that holds my interest to the very end and keeps me diving back into the glass. All-in-all, another winner.
A- / $170 / oldcarterwhiskeyco.com