Wow. This is wonderful. The color is a deep deep red amber. The nose and body are decidedly different from any product on the market today. Every note has a profound effect, that transcends just the drinking itself. On the nose I got sugar, rich oak (in a European kind of way, i.e. bold but inviting), dirty socks (in a good way to the extent possible), maple syrup (late harvest, not grade a maple syrup), butterscotch and vanilla. The body has sweet oak that sprinkles in some of those tannins that really give it some bite. I slightly preferred the body on the 1968 VVOF for those that are interested.
From my notes it seems like this should have been a straight A. Maybe from all the hype I have gotten jaded and expect the world from anything with Pappy involvement. Now stepping back from the tasting, it becomes clear, this bourbon was special and probably really is just an A. Seek this out and step back into a time when things were different. Whether it was the old growth oak, the fact that the product came out at a lower proof and barreled at a lower proof or something else, these are different. [10/18/13]
Full in the mouth, long in the finish, this is just classic stuff that pulls you back for more and more. And it just gets better as the glass goes on. Candy (burnt caramel notes in particular), deep vanillas, and a sort of creamy background that still grips at times. In fact, on some sips I think it's pushing overoaked, then others, I think it's deliciously perfect. This bourbon in particular really punishes you if you try to rush drinking it -- the tannins become too lingering in what's otherwise a really stellar whiskey. It's like it's saying, "Hey man, slow down, I'm really good shit!"
The nose has pine, oak, citrus and spice. The palate has sweet candy, maple syrup, pine, oak, citrus, spice, more maple syrup, brandy, wood pulp, the flavors coming and going. The finish is more like a Cognac finish than a typical bourbon finish, with sweet notes and some earthy notes, as well as some lumber like wood notes.
Sweet, spicy, rich, dry, earthy...this has pretty much every flavor element in it somewhere. Individual notes really don't do justice to this bourbon. The whole is much more than the sum of its parts. There is a gestalt to this one, in which all of the various notes come together into perfect balance, making it taste totally original and mind-blowing. It might just be the best bourbon I've ever tasted.
N: Wet lacquer and sawdust are very apparent with herbal and dry root stuff emerging. A good mix of other scents including lemongrass and white peppercorns come through. Sweetness of vanilla and cotton candy as well. But there’s an old library here too: mahagony, leather, old books and newspaper.
P: Sweet corn, all spice, dark chocolate and dark green vegetal/ herbaceous notes.
N: Wow! This is an incredibly sweet nose that is still very refined. Maraschino cherry candy, Turkish delight, Arabic sweets in sugar glaze.
P: The mouth feel is like the other VVOFs -- medium body, refined, silky. Gum, salt taffy, grilled pinaepple.
F: Lolipops, hot candy, more grilled pineapple, like Kalua pork in pineapple sauce. I was really struggling to find a way to describe the balance that comes from some of the slight earthiness and oak. Some kind of grilled quality to it, but perfectly balanced with everything else. I wondered what this would be like with a spicy BBQ sauce.
So, I guess I was impressed with the sweeteness, but I do remember thinking this nudged out all the other VVOFs for my taste. Which also means it's probably the best bourbon I ever had. Compared to most bourbons, they taste like wood sap now. And as others have said, notes don't do it justice. It really is an experience.
Whoa! This one draws you in with the smell of the chocolate section of an old fashioned candy store combined with the old breakfast joint with 5 syrup jars of differing flavors. Add to that a freshly opened box of brown sugar, like when you helped your mom divvy out teaspoons for the much anticipated dessert that evening. Not too much chocolate, but hints of brown sugar and light syrup all in great balance. Imagine smelling all three separately at their best, but not overpowering. This is the nose, superb!
The palate brought out the best in the syrup, chewy, but bringing in a bit of junior mints, though maybe a bit too much on the menthol side. The nose still has me clinging to a nostalgic bit of my childhood, and any whisky that does that certainly is amazing. It goes on and on.
I would definitely want to find one of these for a future celebration. A (93).