Resilient Straight Bourbon Barrel 88 Review & Tasting Notes


Is Tennessee Whiskey considered Bourbon?  That’s been an interesting debate going back probably as long as the distinction between the two. Several years ago, I inquired this of a certain now-retired Master Distiller who, in response, winked at me and said it wasn’t. And, as much as I could stir that pot, I won’t for the purposes of my review of Resilient Straight Bourbon Whisky.


Resilient is bottled in Pembroke, Kentucky but they source their barrels.  Some barrels come from MGP, others elsewhere. In the case of Barrel 88, it was distilled somewhere in Tennessee back in June 2004, where it aged for 14 years until bottled this past July at 107°, then sold by BC Merchants out of Chicago.  The distillate is a mash of 84% corn, 8% rye and 8% malted barley, making this a very high-corn Bourbon. It is non-chill filtered, and the barrel yielded 128 bottles. The suggested retail is $84.99.


I’d like to thank BC Merchants for providing me a sample of Resilient Bourbon in exchange for a no-strings-attached, unbiased review.  Is Barrel 88 worth chasing down? The only way to answer is to #DrinkCurious and find out.


In the glass, the appearance was a dark, deep amber. It created a very thin rim that produced fat, fast legs to drop back to the pool, usually suggesting a lighter-bodied whiskey.


As I held the rim of my Glencairn at chin-level, there were aromas of mixed-fruits, including apple, pear, and apricot. I lifted it to lip level, and the fruits morphed to caramel and vanilla. Then, hovered just under my nostrils, smells of sugar cookies and oak took over. When I inhaled through my lips, a very definitive cinnamon spice.


The mouthfeel was initially thin, but subsequent sips became creamy and very warming. Up at the front of the palate, the cinnamon spice quickly changed to dark chocolate. The chocolate was soon overcome by dry oak mid-palate and at the back, black pepper, and creamy vanilla.


The finish was spicy and held at the front palate well after traveling down my throat. Minorly on the back, stewed fruits, most likely apricot, but it was admittedly difficult to nail down as it was so muted. Clove then came in very late and stuck around for several minutes.


Bottle, Bar or Bust:  The nose of Barrel 88 is absolutely the most complex attribute of this incarnation of Resilient Bourbon. I found the mouthfeel interesting and was somewhat entertained by the finish. However, I never quite fell in love with this whiskey. Resilient Barrel 88 isn’t a bad whiskey, but I would have a rough time paying $85 for it. As such, it earns a Bar rating.  Cheers!