Luxco, the parent company of both Limestone Branch and Lux Row Distillers, has been on a good run in 2019. They've released several limited-edition whiskeys that have proven very interesting. Limestone Branch is headed by brothers Stephen and Paul Beam, descendants of JW Dant, the original distiller of the Yellowstone brand. Limestone Branch is doing its own distilling now but still relies on sourced whiskeys for its portfolio.
I've reviewed the 2017 and 2018 Yellowstone Limited Editions. I was not overly impressed with the 2017 LE and rated it a Bar. The 2018 LE blew me away and it took that coveted Bottle rating. When Luxco sent me a sample of the 2019 LE, I have to admit I was excited.
The 2019 version is a blend of 9- and 12-year Bourbons. One could assume, based upon Luxco's historical reliance on Heaven Hill for sourcing whiskey, that these Bourbons come from the same source. The 2018 version had some of Limestone's distillate, but none of what they have is old enough to make this bottling. That's definitely a curiosity, but I digress. Limestone Branch produced 12,500 101° bottles with a retail price of $99.99. Because we don't have a firm grasp on the distiller, the mashbill is unknown but must, by law, be at least 51% corn. I suspect rye and, obviously, malted barley.
I want to thank Luxco for sending me this sample of Bourbon for a no-holds-barred, honest review. And now, let's get to it.
In my Glencairn, Yellowstone appears as a brassy chestnut amber. It left a very thin rim and thicker, fast legs that dropped down the wall and into the pool of liquid sunshine.
The most obvious aromas were brown sugar and cinnamon toast. Think of the cereal Cinnamon Toast Crunch and that pretty much nails it. Underneath those was a blend of citrus, light oak, and cocoa. This was almost like sitting down for breakfast. When I inhaled through my lips, there was heavy, dark fruit and vanilla.
The initial sip was thin, oily and coating, and the first flavor to hit me was plum. As the liquid worked its way across my palate, I discovered a lovely combination of dark chocolate and thick caramel. Then, way at the back, a mix of oak and cocoa led to a finish of white pepper, dry oak, and dark chocolate. That finish was lasting and warmed my throat.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: There is so much going on with this year's release and it is very well-balanced. Flavors seem to naturally blend with one another as they worked across the palate. Everything seemed to go right and I can't think of a negative unless I wanted to whine about the c-note pricetag. But, we're at the point in Bourbon and Rye where that is becoming less and less unusual. Like 2018, the 2019 Yellowstone LE is going to snap up that Bottle rating. Cheers!