When Lux Row Distillers released Daviess County Kentucky Straight Bourbon, they had three separate expressions: the standard Kentucky Straight Bourbon, that Bourbon finished in Cabernet Sauvignon casks, and the straight Bourbon finished in French Oak casks. If you want to know the history behind the label and the name, I'll invite you to read my review on the original Kentucky Straight Bourbon. To give you a preview, that expression earned a very easy Bottle rating.
Today I'm reviewing the French Oak Cask release. In a nutshell, this is the same as the original expression that's then been finished for six months in French Oak. It starts with a mash of two Bourbons - one that is traditional (meaning rye is the second largest ingredient) and one that is wheated (meaning wheat is substituted for rye). Therefore the grains used are corn, rye, wheat, and malted barley. But, as this is a blend, you really don't want to consider it a four-grain because that's not how it was originally distilled. Lux Row is sourcing these Bourbons, most likely from Heaven Hill. Since it carries no age statement, it must be at least four years old. Daviess County French Oak is bottled at 96° and retails about $44.99.
The important thing, however, is how does this bourbon taste? To answer that, it is time to #DrinkCurious.
Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, this Bourbon appeared as a deep bronze. It left a fat rim on the wall, which generated thick, fast legs to drop back to the pool of liquid sunshine. However, it also abandoned fat droplets that never really moved.
Nose: Before I could even bring the glass to my face, it was difficult to not smell caramel. When I sniffed the glass, it seemed to be a caramel bomb. The caramel was joined by oak. As I continued to explore, aromas of honey and raisins joined the parade. When I inhaled through my lips, it was as if I took a bite of honeycomb and a shot of vanilla.
Palate: At the first sip, it had a thin and oily mouthfeel. But, it gained weight during subsequent ones. The dry tannins made a big impression. That caramel bomb from the nosing also hit me on the palate. Behind the caramel was dusted cinnamon and vanilla. On the back, things got weird. It was a combination of both sweet and dry oak.
Finish: With 96°, you'd think that warmth would be impactful, and you'd be right in this case. There was no burn per se, but this Bourbon definitely let you know it was there. The finish was long and flavorful, with dry oak, dark chocolate, white pepper, and rye spice. The other interesting aspect was how creamy it remained in my mouth and throat.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Like the original expression, the French Oak was unusual, and I love unique whiskeys. This was so different from the original, yet didn't take away from its character. I could still identify what I'm assuming is Heaven Hill Bourbon. The French Oak adds further character. When you take into account the affordability aspect, this one is like the original - another easy Bottle rating. Cheers!