NCBS 2020 Barrel Picks
1) Smooth Ambler #1
2) Barrell #1 (x4 barrels)
3) Old Forester
4) Woodford Reserve Double Oak
5) Wild Turkey (x2 barrels)
6) Maker's Mark
7) Bulleit #1
8) Smooth Ambler #2
9) One Eight
10) Bulleit #2
On 17 February 2020, the NCBS Barrel Selection Team spent the day at Smooth Amber Spirits in Maxwelton, WV. If you haven't already guessed, this is one of our favorite distillers. The team at Smooth Ambler will always make you feel like you are at home, this trip was no different.
This trip the NCBS team was allowed to pick a 5yr MGP barrel. This was no easy task. There were several great barrels and the team had to do a double blind tasting in order to pick the best of the group.
Here are the notes from the barrel selected. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did selecting it.
Named: Pick the Best Barrel Did You?
Nose: rich, fresh berry, very inviting.
Palate: nutty, brown sugar, clove, with hints of an earthy note (close to leather).
Finish: complex with a bit of a chew to it, has a great mouth feel.
Barrel# BA-D334 (13yr old TN)
Named: MGP vs TN (Get In The Ring)
Nose: brown sugar, hint of earthiness.
Palate: coco to semi-sweet chocolate, backed bread, caramel, the earthiness is close to walnut.
Finish: well rounded mouth fell that walks away slowly.
Barrel# BD-T101 (10yr old TN)
Named: A Little Bit Country A Little Bit Rock N Roll
Nose: floral, rose, yet has a dusty funk.
Palate: the sweetness of nutter-butter up front, the age and funk on the back.
Finish: light at first, complexity increases as that dusty funk opens up.
Barrel# RC-MG02 (5yr old IN)
Named: Dr. Coor's
Nose: light for a high proof rye.
Palate: butter cream, crushed fresh pepper, hints of toasted oak.
Finish: stickiness in the mouth feel, up front heat on the lips yet smooth, long lasting.
Barrel# A130 (18yr old KY)
Named: Not Named (Selected By North Carolina Bourbon Society)
Nose: complex-has that hint of age; there are notes of malted grain and baked goods.
Palate: has an up front spice that mellows out quickly; there are some herbal tea notes.
Finish: very mild and light yet you get the since that this is an older whiskey.
On 3 May 2020, the NCBS Barrel Selection Team was fortunate enough to team up with the Barrell Craft Spirits team again. Our original face-to-face plans with the Barrell team had been thwarted COVID-19; however, we wouldn't let the quarantine stop us. The Barrell team sent us samples and we conducted the selection with them via Zoom.
When it was all said and done, we selected two bourbons and one rye. Here are the notes from each of the barrels selected. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did selecting them.
On 9 May 2020, the NCBS Barrel Selection Team had the opportunity to select a Single Barrel (Cask Strength) of Old Forester. Once again, COVID had restricted visiting the distillery for section; however, the Old Forester team didn't want to let the NCBS folks down. They sent us sever samples to consider. The samples didn't disappoint and a clear winner was obvious.
As always, it is the selection team that gets to name the barrel. This one is spot on, especially if you are a courvoisier fan. Here are the notes from the barrel selected. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did selecting it.
Named: The Ladies Man
Nose: maple, floral (maybe passion fruit).
Palate: buttery, dry chocolate, maple, jasmine, black truffle.
Finish: drops off quick yet has a pleasant return after 10-15 seconds.
On 9 May 2020, the NCBS Barrel Selection Team had the opportunity to select a Woodford Reserve Double Oak. Still working under the quarantine restrictions, we took the opportunity to "double"-up (you could say) with the Brown-Forman team to select our second barrel from their brand line up during the same event.
The team was assisted by a very-large flavor tasting wheel that the the Brown-Forman Rep brought with him (not that they needed it; however, we had never seen a tasting wheel the size of a dinning room table). Here are the tasking notes from the pick. We hope that you enjoy it!
Barrel# Batch #3
Named: Flavor-Flav Wheel
Nose: strong chocolate tones with a hint of toasted rye.
Palate: dried fruits (apricot and or fig), baked chocolate, hazelnut.
Finish: light and smooth, walks away leaving a hint of marzipan.
On 13 July 2020, the NCBS Barrel Selection Team was able to spend the morning with Shawn Phillips from Campari Group and taste through some amazing Wild Turkey single barrel samples. Of course we would have loved to go to the Lawrenceburg, KY facility; however, staying staff during the current COVID situation.
What a great experience with Shawn! And after some difficult debating over six great barrels, the team had it narrowed down to three. Shawn had us blind taste those three which resulted in two great selects. Here are the tasting notes from the pick. We hope that you enjoy it!
Barrel# 20-0809, Floor 5, Warehouse S
Barreled: 27 October 2011
Bottled: 28 October 2020
Named: Ozark - Sasquatch Episode
Nose: light malted and cereal, hints of chocolate.
Palate: cooked stewed apples, malt, baked goods, creamy peanut butter.
Finish: oily mouth feel, mild and very smooth.
Barrel# 20-0510, Floor 4, Warehouse E
Barreled: 16 September 2011
Bottled: 27 October 2020
Named: Ozark - E.T. Episode
Nose: fruity, hint of apple.
Palate: toasted, baked spices, pepper.
Finish: creamy, lightly sweet as it walks away...
On 14 July 2020, the NCBS Barrel Selection Team was able to spend the morning with Marker Mark Team. If you have not been to the historical facility you are truly missing out. They are still doing things just like they did in 1953. The label printing press and label cutter something you wouldn't believe unless you saw it with your own eyes.
Marker's approaches single barrel selection a bit different. They use a combination of five different staves with a total staves count of ten (so 1,001 combinations). Their staves are: Baked American Pure, Seared French Cuvée, Maker's Mark 46, Roasted French Mocha, and Toasted French Spice. After the staves placed in the barrel it is aged for nine weeks in a cool temperature one-of-a-kind limestone cellar.
After some "scientific" bourbon tasting and some stave combination trials, we found what we think is great Private Selection. What was really crazy is that we found out the our combination was unique, no one had made it yet. Here is that recipe: Five (5) Seared French Cuvée, Four (4) Roasted French Mocha, and One (1) Maker's Mark 46.
Here are the tasking notes from the pick. We hope that you enjoy it!
Barreled With Staves: 14 July 2020
Bottled: 5 October 2020
Stave Combination: 5 Seared French Cuvee, 1 Marker’s 46, 4 Roasted French Mocha
Named: NCBS 4MITABLE 4MULA 4 (four different stickers)
Nose: rich mocha, banana fosters.
Palate: semi-sweet rich cocoa, sugar cookie.
Finish: cocoa, banana, sticky mouth feel.
On 3 August 2020, a small NCBS Barrel Selection Team was able to spend the morning with Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Team at the Shelbyville, KY location. In 1987, Thomas E. Bulleit, Jr., fulfilled a lifelong dream of reviving an old family bourbon recipe by starting the Bulleit Distilling Company. Inspired by his great-great-grandfather Augustus Bulleit, who made a high-rye whiskey between 1830-1860.
Bulleit present the NCBS team with eight different barrels made up from two different recipes. We had four 12yr/mash bill 21% Rye, 75% corn, 4% malted barley/yeast strain E (fruit & creamy) and four 10yr/mash bill 36% Rye, 60% corn, 4% malted barley/yeast strain B (strawberry fruit).
The contrast between the the two different mash bills was very evident and each barrel had something special about it; however, one clearly stood out. Here are the tasking notes from the pick. We hope that you enjoy it!
Named: This $*!% Is B-A-N-A-N-A-S
Nose: hints of sweet fruit and rye.
Palate: banana cream pie, light hints of herbs/spice.
Finish: creamy mouth feel ending with rye spice in the mid-palette.
On 4 August 2020, the NCBS Barrel Selection Team spent the day at Smooth Amber Spirits in Maxwelton, WV. This was a difficult pick to get arranged with the COVID restrictions; however, this pick was for a special cause. This would be the NCBS Salute to Service Veterans Day release and would raise money for the Unit Scholarship Fund.
The team spread out across the rickhouse and yelled our notes out to each other for each barrel. Here are the notes from the barrel selected. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did selecting it.
Barrel# 24122 (5yr MGP High Rye)
Named: NCBS Salute to Service
Nose: rich, hints of toasted oak.
Palate: powdered cocoa, toasted notes, hint of molasses.
Finish: viscous, hints of cracked pepper corn (but no burn), lingers.
On 26 September 2020, the NCBS Barrel Selection Team was given the opportunity to work with One Eight Distilling and acquire 14yr MGP High Rye Bourbon (we all know that an opportunity like this doesn't happen everyday).
For those of you not familiar with them, One Eight Distilling is in The District of Columbia and is named for Article One, Section Eight, of the Constitution, which among other things provided for the establishment of a district to serve as the nation’s capital.
By the time we had worked out the selection details, it was 6 October 2020; hence the barrel name. Here are the notes and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did selecting it.
Barrel# 0398 Lot ID 06J04 (14yr MGP)
Mash Bill: High Rye (60% corn, 36% Rye, 4% Barley)
Named: Eddie Van Halen Tribute
Nose: banana bread, caramel, coco.
Palate: baked goods, coco, honey, caramel, dark fruits, and a hint of pepper from the rye.
Finish: hint of tobacco, long yet light spicy finish, hint of cherry.
On 12 October 2020, a small NCBS Barrel Selection Team was lucky enough to make a trip out to Bulleit Frontier Whiskey in Shelbyville, KY for our second pick of 2020.
Bulleit present the NCBS team with six different barrels made up from two different recipes. We had three 12yr/mash bill 21% Rye, 75% corn, 4% malted barley/yeast strain E (fruit & creamy) and three 10yr/mash bill 36% Rye, 60% corn, 4% malted barley/yeast strain B (strawberry fruit).
Although these recipes and yeast combinations were the same as the first pick back in August, there was a great variety in flavors. When it came time to vote, there was a clear winner that everyone agreed was #1 (and we all know how hard it is for everyone to agree). Here are the tasking notes from the pick. We hope that you enjoy it!
Named: Dude - The Finish
Nose: banana, baked goods.
Palate: creamy, banana pudding, hints of cherry, hints of leather.
Finish: some fresh cracked pepper, short then comes back after about 10 seconds.