Review: Belle Meade Bourbon Sherry Cask Finish

I’m not just into bourbon – I greatly enjoy a quality sherry, too. Take that under advisement for my review.

Belle Meade describes this as a “proprietary blend of 9 year old barrels” (read: NDP via MGP) then “then rested in used Oloroso Sherry casks to finish.” And they mention it has 30% rye content. Interesting.

But Indiana’s Midwest Grain Products does make great bourbon – and sherrys are often delicious, so how did Belle Meade do putting the two together?

Nose: “Intense and explosive” are oft over-used adjective in tasting notes but here they apply. This one’s nose is evident a foot from the glass. Dried fruit, nuts, toasted wood, grains and sweet caramel mix in heavenly balance. It’s like all the best aromas of a tobacco shop.

Palate: Initially, everything the nose promised and just the right amount of heat. The flavors are more integrated on the palate but with a few sips each aspect is individually discernible. But then, despite having borrowed the proof point from Woodford Reserve (90.4), the heat actually builds across each successive sip.

Finish: The heat doesn’t dissipate and the tumult of flavors dies away to a lingering graininess.

Verdict: This has one of the best aromas of any finished bourbon I’ve had. I enjoyed it more for the nose and the initial palate impression than as a drinking whiskey. Delaying between the sips allowed the complexity to return somewhat. This is a great spirit but might be a little high at $70 – 80 per bottle. On the other hand, it’s one to linger over, so you get more out of it. It’s one destined for my liquor cabinet.