Early last year, we reviewed the bulk of the portfolio at Southern Distilling Company in Statesville, NC. One bottle that slipped through the cracks on us was this Reserve Straight Bourbon, the only age-stated whiskey in the entire lineup. It’s a healthy 10 years old and presumably made of the same high-rye mashbill as their other bourbons. No source is disclosed, but the telltale “Distilled in Indiana” on the back label suggests MGP. Let’s check it out.
The nose is refined with bright, creamy caramel, dry oak, and a distinct, slightly tart black cherry note. As it opens in the glass, more vanilla bean and a bit of milk chocolate emerge. The palate is punchy with alcohol up front; it’s light-bodied but not thin. Initially, it’s not quite as full-flavored as the aroma suggests, with rather straightforward notes of candy corn and butterscotch candies. A savory undercurrent of buttery toffee elevates the experience into the mid-palate, and the finish, at long last, sees some of the promised fruit with orange zest and a splash of cherry juice alongside salty peanut brittle. A little water does wonders to add balance and tame some of the initial heat. A highlight of the lineup.
A- / $70 / southerndistillingcompany.com