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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Sipp’n Corn Bourbon Review – Yellowstone 2017 Limited Edition

This is the third year that Steve and Paul Beam at Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky (which partners with Luxco), have released a limited edition variety of the historic Yellowstone brand.  I enjoyed both of the previous limited editions, but for different reasons.  The 2015 Yellowstone Limited Edition was a 105 proof blend of 12 and 7-year bourbons using rye as the secondary grain, and a 7-year bourbon using wheat as the secondary grain, that had robust oak, a black-tea tang, and a finish swelling with rye spice.  The 2016 Yellowstone Limited Edition was a 101 proof blend of 7-year and 12-year Kentucky Straight Bourbon (both with rye as the secondary grain), and finished in new wine barrels with varying levels of toast (i.e., not charred) that was a nuanced sipping whiskey.


2017 marks the beginning of a new era because this Yellowstone Limited Edition is the first to include bourbon distilled at Limestone Branch.  While the proportions are not disclosed, the 2017 Yellowstone limited edition blends together 4-year (the Limestone Branch contribution), 7-year, and 12-year Kentucky Straight Bourbon, which was then finished in wine casks.  Interestingly, the finishing casks provide continuity to the 2016 Yellowstone Limited Edition.  After that release, Steve Beam sent the wine casks back to Kelvin Cooperage for #1 level charring without scraping the barrels.  Then he filled them with the 2017 blend, providing the final step for this year’s Limited Edition.

Bourbon:
Yellowstone 2017 Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Distillery:
Unknown, but including Limestone Branch’s own bourbon

Age:
No age statement, but component bourbons include 4-year, 7-year, and 12-year

ABV:
50.5% ABV (101 proof)

Cost:
$99.99

Tasting Notes

Appearance:
Dark amber on the verge of brown.

Nose:
Aromas of leather and oak with cinnamon giving it some spark, along with butterscotch sweetness, pecans, and grassy fields.

Taste:
It needed some air to open up, but then it shined.  Consistent with the aromas, the prominent flavors are more earthy flavors, like leather, oak, tobacco and cinnamon again, along with dark, dried fruit.  The flavors seem much older than I would expect even from the oldest component bourbon.

Finish:
The finish ties it all together for this Yellowstone edition.  I imagined leather-bound books in an old library.  Oak and leather provide the backbone, rich caramel sweetness makes it indulgent, and the warmth and lingering flavors make the finish memorable. 

Bottom Line

Limestone Branch has been building its credibility with the Yellowstone Limited Editions and shows that it can be a player in the annual fall limited release season hysteria.  The 2017 edition is the most complex of the three to date, while not sacrificing consistency from aroma, to taste, to finish.  Perhaps most impressive though, the 2017 Yellowstone is robust without being a brute, which is a very fine line to walk.

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.

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