Some would say that selecting a barrel of bourbon is all fun. It is a very enjoyable experience. Going to a barrel warehouse with a master distiller to thief a barrel is a true sensory experience. Even sitting with a group with samples pulled from barrels from a distillery too far away to drive, is a great way to learn about what styles each barrel represents. Not all barrel samples are a taste treat. Finding a barrel that sings is a wonderful way to pick a barrel. And thus, the challenge is finding the barrel that we feel represents our “house” style and is atypical when compared to the commercial versions selected by the master distillers.
Westport Whiskey & Wine’s “house” style relies on great aromatics, from fruit, cream, vanilla and wood spices. The flavor is rich, lush and not astringent. It may be robust and warm, but never harsh. When splashed the flavors should open-up all the more. We believe that the selections below truly represent our house style, and great values, too.
CURRENT SELECTIONS (7.11.2023)
Maker’s Mark Private Selection, 750ml, $79.99This selection marks our 16th unique stave combination in the Maker’s Mark Private Selection program. This one has a great citrusy note laced with vanilla in the aroma. They carry through in the mouth and add a great deal of complexity to this summer-time bourbon. Think of a sweet-team with brown sugar, toffee & molasses flavor, with hint or pepper on the finish. This is going to be lovely over ice or in a lemonade or hi-ball on the patio or by the pool. Enjoy.
Rebel Cask Strength, Single Barrel, 750ml, $55.99Wonderful aromas of toast, creme brulee, and orange zest invite you to taste this rich, round bourbon. Complex flavors of spice, oak, and pepper combine to make this a great tasting bourbon with a long, slightly warm finish. Try this one with an ice cube!
Ezra Brooks Cask Strength, Single Barrel, 750ml, $55.99Selecting back in March, this is our third Ezra Brooks barrel and probably our favorite so far. In particular this barrel really showcases the spicy rye component aromatically and on the palate. Sweet oak vanillin and caramel complement the spicier, bold and warm flavors.
Bluegrass Distillers is one of the smallest bourbon distillers in Kentucky and also one of the most creative. They have embraced the technique of secondary maturation of their bourbon in freshly toasted oak barrels. This brings a complexity to their relatively young bourbon. When we visited the distillery just before Derby, we were treated to a selection of four barrels, all sequentially aged, from the same mashbill, 75C 21R 4MB, and all put into their new toasted barrels on the same date, 2/22/23. The result was this very tasty selection. Aromas of toast, vanilla, and some baking spice. The mouthfeel was nicely balanced, sweet upon entry, with layers of cinnamon, maple and nutmeg. While there was a bit of a woody drying finish, it did not detract from the overall pleasantness of the bourbon. It works well neat, but I prefer it with a couple of cubes to help it open. Nulu, Double-Oaked, Bourbon, 750ml, $86.99What Chase Hazelbaker is doing at Nulu has be quite amazing. He has created a niche in the industry by sourcing unique barrels of bourbon, some he batches to make a finished product, not unlike another local producer, others he places in a new charred oak barrel from several months to create a deeper flavored whiskey. We were treated to taste as many barrels as we would have liked, and after tasting five, and a rather lively discussion, we selected the first one we tasted. This is a classic MGP, 75C, 21R, 4MB, that was put in a new barrel with a number 3 char and at the point at which we tasted it had been in that barrel for a bit over 7 months. The result was a very aromatic bourbon, toasted vanilla, a hint of coconut and orange peel. The mouthfeel is big, bold, deep and very flavorful. There is ample baking spices and it has a very nice, long, lingering finish. Enjoy it neat, or as I prefer with a rock (think Kentucky Straight Ice). Bulleit B4 36% Rye #4 yeast, 750ml, $61.99The aroma is floral, fruity and spicy and quite intriguing. The initial taste, according to my notes, was this was quite a surprise. It was big, bold upon the entry and on the palate is big, viscous almost oily. It delivers toast, spice and some nice tree fruits, cherries, plums & even some tart apples. It has a lovely finish.Bulleit E2 21% rye #2 yeast, 750ml, $61.99This barrel was quite the treat, it was not in the initial offering. Mollie (barrel program coordinator), said she thought we should try this, too, and wow I am glad that we did. The aroma is full of butterscotch, brown sugar and other baking spices. It is big, sweet on the entry and quickly shows the caramel, toffee flavors with a complex nutty, think walnuts, flavor. It is slightly woody, yet not astringent. The finish is lush, spicy and long. Turns out this barrel was just over 12 years old.
MB Roland, Rye Whiskey, WW&W Selection, 107.4 proof, 750ml, $47.99
Wonderfully spicy, rye aromas great the nose with a sweetness that invites a taste. It is at once sweet & spicy. There is a great bold flavor that has a long, warm finish. Enjoy with a cube or two to subdue the barrel proof or enjoy it in a Manhattan.
MB Roland, Corn Whiskey, WW&W Selection, 112.8 proof, 750ml, $61.99
Corn whiskey is truly an American original, considering that long before there was Bourbon, early pioneers and farmers “wintered” their corn crops by distilling. This particular offering is 95% corn & 5% malted barley, aged at over 4 years. The aroma of buttered popcorn is inviting and characteristic of a corn whiskey. It enters sweet with a nicely balanced mid-palate and it has a lovely, clean finish. This sips nicely, neat and it can be the base of some fun cocktails, too.
Knob Creek, Rye, WW&W Selection, 10yr, 115 proof, 750ml, $66.99
The good folks at Beam decided that Knob Creek Ry selections would be from barrels that are at least 7 years old. And we are glad they did. This barrel ended up be full 10 years old. It is a big, bold glass of rye. Full of toffee with a sweet herbal note in the aroma. The taste is big, spicy, rye forward. It is round, rich and mouth-filling, with a warm Kentucky Hug on the finish.
Huber's Starlight Distillery, Bourbon, WW&W Selection, 108.2 proof, 750ml, $61.99
The aroma of buttery popcorn jumps out and grabs your attention. There are hints of spice & red fruit, too. The entry is sweet, vanilla forward, with an oily, viscous mouthfeel. This is a long, lingering bourbon with a clean, yet, memorable finish.
Angel’s Envy, Bourbon, Single Barrel SB-370C, WW&W Selection, 110 proof, 750ml, $110
We were so excited that Angel’s Envy had decided to offer Single Barrel selections that we jumped at the first available date. After tasting through 6 barrels, we arrived at what we thought was a wonderful bourbon and we hope that you agree. The aromas were filled with bright fruit and a pecan pie sweetness. When tasted the initial response was, YUMMY! That translated to sweet cream, toasty, nutty, mouth-filling lushness that finishes long warm and well-balanced.
Tumblin Dice Rye, WW&W Selection, 700ml, $59.99
This MGP-sourced, seven and a half year old rye, is one of the best we have ever tasted. Bold, spicy, and subtly meaty aroma. On the entrance, the palate is big and bold with classic sweet and minty notes. The finish is peppery, long, and quite nice.
WhistlePig, 10yr, Single Barrel Rye, Barrel # 89583, WW&W Selection, 106.2 proof, 750ml, $106
This is the second of two barrels picked at WhistlePig Farms in April 2022, and much sweeter and lighter than its sister. Cypress and cinnamon candy overlay subtle butterscotch on the nose. Baking spices are rich on the palate with gingerbread and honey dominating a long finish.
WhistlePig, 10yr, Single Barrel Rye, Barrel # 133256, WW&W Selection, 106.2 proof, 750ml, $106
Selected at WhistlePig Farms in April 2022, this barrel bursts with sweet green notes; spearmint, fennel, and a hint of caraway. The palate is round and full red fruit and wood spice. The lingering finish is moderately drying with plenty of cinnamon. Perfect for cool weather sipping!