If you're in Wisconsin, you know a bunch of George Remus picks just hit the shelves... and if you don't know that, now you do. If you're unfamiliar with Remus, it is one of MGP's house brands of Bourbon. MGP is known for making excellent whiskey.
One of the barrels that just hit is The Speakeasy_WI's Bootlegger Bentley's. It is time for complete and total disclosure: The Speakeasy_WI is a fun, welcoming group I belong to and which is owned by Troy Mancusi. We do a lot of barrel picks, and ours have a history of not sticking around long. Our most recent barrels have sold out in three days or less.
Bootlegger Bentley's was picked on February 20, 2020, just before the crap that is COVID-19 hit the fan. It was also the last in-store pick I was a part of (subsequent picks have happened remotely). Picking along with me and Troy were Dan "The Candyman" O'Connell and "Lucky Bastard" Terry Sullivan. We were sponsored by Neil's Liquors located at 2415 Allen Blvd. in Middleton, which is the exclusive retailer for this barrel.
We agreed on Barrel #357, which was seven years old and came in at 123.8°. By the time the barrel was dumped, it was closer to 7.5 years and crept up to 124°. The mashbill is MGP's 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley. A measly 132 750ml bottles are available and retail for $56.99.
Now that all the details have been shared, it is time to #DrinkCurious.
Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, Bootlegger Bentley's appeared as a bright amber. It left a very thin rim and generated thick, wavy legs to drop back to the pool of liquid sunshine.
Nose: Caramel dominated the air. It was accompanied by mint, cinnamon, and dark fruit. When I inhaled through my lips, it was mint with a touch of caramel. The bomb of caramel switched places with the mint.
Palate: The first sip brought a need for a second. The mouthfeel was all over the place, starting off thin and as it worked its way across my mouth, thickened. That's not something you typically find. That second sip became very creamy. Heavy vanilla was on the front. It was joined by a very dry oak, which made for an interesting marriage. As the whiskey moved to mid-palate, berries fell from that oak, giving a nice, sweet experience. Then, on the back, cinnamon, not just cinnamon but Red Hots candy along with the berry.
Finish: If you can picture a finish like a freight train, this is that. It starts off slow and then once it gets going it never lets up. Six minutes past my last sip and it is still ramping up. It starts with cocoa, then oak, and finally, black pepper.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Yes, I'm biased. But, let's get real. I require that anything that has my name attached to it must be nothing less than excellent. Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking, but keep in mind I've rejected more samples than I've given a thumbs-up to, and I go into every pick prepared to walk away empty-handed. I don't pick something because there's an opportunity.
However, let's look at this objectively. This is a 7-year old barrel-proof Bourbon and it is only $57.00. On the surface, that's a hell of a good price. The fact that Bootlegger Bentley's is one that you won't want to chug through means you'll take more time per sip to enjoy it. Obviously, it gets a Bottle rating. Get yours before it is gone. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It