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Friday, January 29, 2016

Sipp’n Corn Bourbon Review – Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

A formerly popular historical label has been revived and saved from its recent bottom-shelf status.  The origin of Yellowstone lies with the union of the Beam and Dant families 105 years ago, and continued today at Limestone Branch Distillery with brothers Steve and Paul Beam.

Luxco owned the Yellowstone name, but now in partnership with Limestone Branch, the brand reunited with the family re-launched with a limited edition 105-proof Bourbon, sourced and blended from 12 and seven-year Bourbons using rye as the secondary grain, and a seven-year Bourbon using wheat as the secondary grain.  Limestone Branch has followed this initial reintroduction with a lower-proof and lower-priced regular production Yellowstone Select, but the Limited Edition is up first:

Bourbon:
Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Distillery:
Not Disclosed

Blending:
Limestone Branch Distillery, Lebanon, Kentucky

Age:
Minimum of 7 years

ABV:
52.5% (105 proof)

Cost:
$105.00

Tasting Notes

Color:
Dark amber with a slight reddish hue.

Nose:
Caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla dominate, with other subtle aromas, like fresh clover, creamed corn, oak, leather, and very slight mint.  I would not have guessed that it is over 100 proof.

Taste:
Consistent with the aromas, the flavors start with creamy, buttery caramel and vanilla flavors, with brown sugar and fig to add another dimension of sweetness.  Then the flavors shift to cinnamon, leather, and more oak than I expected from a Bourbon using two seven-year components, followed with a transition to something much more unique:  a tang of black tea.  A single large ice cube made Yellowstone creamier, and contrary to my usual experience of ice accentuating sweet flavors, here it amplified the rye spice.

Finish:
The finish was longish, and was overall dry, despite some corn sweetness, with a nice swell of rye spice (almost prickly) and lingering warmth.

Bottom Line

Blending Bourbons that use different secondary grains is a fantastic idea, and it provides an opportunity for home-blenders to experiment as well.  Here, although we do not know the percentages used, the flavors suggest a higher usage-rate of the 12-year Bourbon.  It’s arguable that we ought to be told which percentages were used in accordance with 27 C.F.R. § 5.40(a)(1), (e)(1), (e)(2) and TTB’s The Beverage Alcohol Manual; A Practical Guide, Basic Mandatory Labeling Information for DISTILLED SPIRITS, vol. 2, at Chapter 8 (2012), but the seven-year age statement on the front label is arguably sufficient.  Either way, I expect more blending of different mash bills as producers seek to distinguish themselves in a crowded market.

Although I’ve removed value as a component of my ratings, Yellowstone warrants some mention of value due to its price tag and limited availability.  No doubt, Yellowstone is pushing the limits of what it can reasonably expect consumers to pay, but considering its uniqueness and one-time batch, Yellowstone Limited Edition is priced appropriately in the market, although I recognize that many other people will pass because of the price.  There are worse “values” and better “values” out there, but at least here we have a trustworthy producer, and we have more information about the Bourbon than many other sourced brands offer.  Hopefully with Steve and Paul Beam at the helm, Limestone Branch can create a track record of excellent blends in partnership with Luxco, which will help justify the cost of future editions.     

Score on The Sipp’n Corn Scale:  4.0

The Sipp’n Corn Scale:
1 – Swill.  I might dump the bottle, but will probably save it for my guests who mix with Coke.
2 – Hits the minimum criteria, but given a choice, I’d rather have something else.
3 – Solid Bourbon with only minor shortcomings.  Glad to own and enjoy.
4 – Excellent Bourbon.  Need to be hyper-critical to find flaws.  I’m lucky to have this.
5 – Bourbon perfection.  I’ll search high and low to get another bottle of this.

4 comments:

  1. I was pleasantly surprised by this as I expected it to be the usual pretty good but anonymous sort of thing that comes from, say, Jefferson. Very good stuff if expensive.

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    1. Thanks for commenting! The cost is likely to scare people away or to have really high expectations, but yes, it's very good. Cheers.

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  2. Made me go what I suspect could be the last bottle in Indy. Your descriptions were right in line with my preferences. Cheers.

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    Replies
    1. I hope you enjoy! Comment again after you get a chance to try it. Thanks!

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