Nose: Almond butter, Butterscotch, Caramel, Cardamom, Leather, Chocolate, Ethanol, Honey, Light Maple, Orange Peel, Smoked Vanilla, Tobacco, Fresh Leather
Taste: Slight Astringency/Velvety. Charred Oak, Sweet pipe tobacco, fresh leather, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Rye grain, Brown Butter, Maple Syrup/Molasses, Burnt Vanilla, Coffee
Finish: Long Length. Surprisingly, a lot of cinnamon and clove show up on the front of the palate, with just a hint of maple sweetness. The spice lingers for the length of the finish but is joined by some of the nice burnt vanilla and brown butter notes. The maple finish doesn’t really show up as much as I would like on the finish, but there is just enough there to reel you in. The finish seems to last longer due to this whiskey being 115 proof. There is a hard fall off in the sweeter notes, but the lasting sweet tobacco, clove, and coffee let it end nicely.
Overall: For this being a maple finished bourbon, I expected it to be quite sweet. I have a second barrel pick of this expression and it is very dessert note heavy. I know this one seems dessert heavy with the notes of brown butter, maple, burnt vanilla, and caramel, but the sweeter notes are overpowered by the spice. Now, the spice could be a mix of the 25% rye mashbill at 115 proof, or it could be spice from the barrels. I do always notice a slight ting of spice with maple finished whiskey and I think it has something to do with the maple and wood combo. This one, however, is a tad spicier than other maple finished whiskies I have had.
I had to add a few drops of water to this one to really let the sweeter notes shine. Three drops were the perfect amount to redeem what I at first thought was a cinnamon/clove spice bomb – which is not what you want with a maple finished bourbon. The water helped save this for me! When I first cracked this bottle, I was overwhelmed with excitement and had a pour, but I always say to have 3 – 5 pours before making a solid decision on the bottle. I had a review for this bottle ready to go, but scored it very low, so low in fact that I felt like it needed a redemption pour. Doing so brought it up 2 points and the rating score below is a combined average of the two.
I love Taconic Distillery and what they are doing, but not every barrel is a winner. I do think this is a good bottle, but I much prefer the other maple finished pick that I have since it shows much more maple finished goodness. I am not exactly sure of the price of this bottle, as it was sent to me by a friend who never quoted me the price, I am going to score it off of the the average price I have seen it for online for its price value rating.
Value Rating: 7/10
Total Score: 6.65/10