Saturday, July 16, 2016

Before The Bottle Runs Dry - Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year Old

Old Rip Van Winkle
Chasing the bourbon monkey is a fun little adventure for myself as more and more quality bourbons start to enter the Australian market. In only a few short years access to brands often reserved for an international trip can now be picked up through many chains and independent retailers.

You have all of course heard of the Pappy Van Winkle fever that grips the buyers market the moment there is a sniff of a few bottles coming into the country. People are buying on hype then reserving the bottles for resell later. Well Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery does make more than just the Pappy so if you truly want to try something from this distillery (now distilled at Buffalo Trace) shoot a bit lower for the Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. But don’t shoot too low because you hip pocket will still be slugged a hefty $400AU for this bottle.

A friend brought this bottle over during one of several bbq and bourbon lunches we have had and kindly left the remnants for yours truly to sample and review. Bourbon for me? Nicholas you are too kind! I thought I better get this reviewed before the bottle runs dry.

Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Distillery: Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery / Buffalo Trace Distillery
Region: Kentucky, USA
ABV: 53.5%
Wood: New American Oak
Age: 10 years

Colour: Coal fire orange.

Nose is of course typical sweet bourbon with a good whack of a wood workshops, touches of aniseed, spearmint, semi dried dates, golden syrup and furniture polish. There is even elements of citrus and mango making it mildly tropical in nature.

Taste displays some real finely balance elements of older oak, maple and or golden syrup, fresh wood shavings and lifts with spearmint spice. Exceptionally smooth with little to no heat in the mouth as the tastes buds are saturated.

Finish is long and spicy heating in the chest with a obvious prickle under the tongue. It does not dry out too much but certainly enough to command a follow up sip shortly after as sugary maple syrup appears again.

Overall this whiskey steps left of the density of vanilla so many bourbons aim for. Wood refinement is clear in this beast but do not confuse that with being heavily oaked. I enjoy this whisky for what it is and have found it needs time to be appreciated. Sip it once or twice then let it rest before returning. Take note of the subtle characteristics and see how they change with the intake of breath. Take it gentle and treat it with respect.

Bourbons have very narrow profiles with the flavours weaved exceptionally close to each other. This is certainly one that has a nice level of craftsmanship to it. If I was to give a dram then a clean 6 out of 7 but I am now going to remove 1.5 points because I cannot though justify the price of $400AU here in Australia. No that pricing is just wrong and a cruel joke. So that is an offical 4.5 out of 7. Is that too cruel a score? No I don't think so because it is actually a really good whisky. I do like to remain grounded though and spending that kind of money on a whisky has impacts elsewhere in life some simply cannot afford. So if you are a keen bourbon hound, want to try something very well refined, have the dollars to spend, and maybe a few mates to share the appreciation with, then go for it.  Enjoy it. But if you are someone that buys on price believing that it equates to guaranteed satisfaction then maybe duck out and buy a dram at a bar first instead.

The Baron