Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Cream of Kentucky Bourbon Review and Tasting Notes

I first met Jim Rutledge back in 2013 when I was part of a Four Roses barrel pick. He is one hell of a nice guy, very knowledgable, and he is the man responsible for taking that distillery from junk to premium status. When he left Four Roses, I think a lot of us were disappointed. Nothing at all against Brent Elliott, but change is sometimes difficult to accept.

When it was then announced that Jim was starting his own distillery, I know that I was not the only one who was extremely excited over the notion. And, we waited. And waited. Suddenly, the news was out - Jim Rutledge bought the rights to Cream of Kentucky through the JW Rutledge Distillery and was releasing an 11.5-year-old Bourbon to market.  It was obvious from the moment of the announcement that the whiskey would be sourced and most folks believe Barton 1792 was the distiller.

Cream of Kentucky is a blend of 60 barrels, bottled at 102°, and has a suggested retail of $129.99. My assumption is only a few people paid retail, most more due to it coming from Jim Rutledge and folks looking to hold or sell on the secondary market. I was provided a sample by a friend who was interested in my thoughts. And, so, it is time to #DrinkCurious.

In my Glencairn, Cream of Kentucky had a dark, rich chestnut color. It created a thin rim that led to medium legs that quickly dropped back to the pool of whiskey.

Aromas of a myriad of citrus, cherries, and berries permeated my olfactory senses. Underneath that fruit was nuts and vanilla. When I inhaled through my lips, the nuts and vanilla changed up to butterscotch. It made my mouth water.

The mouthfeel was very thick and coated everywhere in my mouth. Up front was a blend of oak, vanilla and orange peel. Mid-palate brought tobacco leaf, leather, and nuts. On the back, I picked up a light but sweet berry quality.

The finish was a long and lingering dance of black pepper, tobacco leaf, and oak.

Bottle, Bar or Bust:  Once you get above $100, the landscape changes for me as to what I'll run out and grab for myself. Something has to be very, very good because there are a lot of very, very good whiskeys for much less. I went into this review biased with a desire to love Cream of Kentucky. As it turned out, Cream of Kentucky is an average Bourbon that offers nothing to stand out aside from the name and price. Regrettably, this one's a Bust for me.

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