Maker: Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Bardstown Kentucky, USA
Age: 23 y/o
Proof: 94 (47% ABV)
Thanks to: Oscar for this sample
Appearance: Dark Auburn
Nose: Wood varnish, oak, peanut brittle, slightly musty, an elusive fruity note: sometimes purple Kool-Aid and sometimes orange Tang.
On the palate: Soft mouth feel. Toffee, butterscotch, oak, alcohol, clove.
Finish: Very dry, old oak, some alcohol and a touch of sweetness.
Parting words: I make no secret of my dislike of old American whiskeys. When even my beloved Four Roses distillery came out with a 17 year old bourbon a couple years ago I was not impressed. The Elijah Craig 18 y/o bourbons I have tasted and enjoyed are few and far between. KBD’s Vintage series of bourbons and ryes are all old whiskeys but have the advantage of being relatively affordable. The downside is that, if KBD got a hold of it, there’s a good chance the distillers didn’t think it was good enough to release under one of their own labels or even blend it into something else. Such is the risk of buying old whiskey from non-distiller producers.
So when Oscar gave me the sample I was skeptical. My skepticism proved to be largely unwarranted. This rye is very drinkable. I’ve had 20 y/o bourbons (from distillery-owned labels) that were not nearly as easy to drink as this. That said, Vintage 23 falls into the curiosity or vatting whiskey category for me. It’s something I might buy one bottle for to use for a tasting or to bring out when whiskey friends are over. Too woody and old to be a classic but interesting enough to warrant some interest. Vintage Rye 23 y/o is recommended.