BHAKTA 2014 Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


Have you heard of Raj Bhakta? It is okay if you haven’t. But I’m sure you’ve heard of WhistlePig, the brand he founded in 2008. WhistlePig was known for taking sourced Canadian whisky and further aging it at WhistlePig’s former dairy farm-turned-distillery in Shoreham, Vermont.


Bhakta sold WhistlePig in 2018, and in 2019, he and Leo Gibson founded BHAKTA Spirits and subsequently procured a collection of spirits, including whiskeys and brandies, dating back to 1868 and every year through 2024.


A little over a year ago, I had a chance to review its BHAKTA 2013 Bourbon. It was unique because it was a nine-year MGP distillate of 99% corn and 1% malted barley finished in 50-year Armagnac casks.


Another year has passed, and BHAKTA has decided to make this an annual release, meaning we’ll explore 2014 Bourbon today.


“This year’s BHAKTA 2014 Bourbon was given a 125-day cask finish in our ‘No. 1 Spirit in the World’ (per Paul Pacult’s 2023 rankings) 1973 Armagnac barrels. Last year’s 2013 was a bit of a surprise hit—sold out very quickly, but there are some bottles out in accounts across the country still—so we’re doubling down.”Andrew Lohse, BHAKTA Spirits Head of Attention


The mashbill of 2014 Bourbon is the same as 2013 Bourbon. It, too, is a 9-year Bourbon. BHAKTA 2014 is packaged at 52.7% ABV (105.4°). There are 1500 cases of 750ml bottles with a suggested price of $149.00.


Usually, my honest reviews are performed with no strings attached. Concerning this BHAKTA 2014 Bourbon, Andrew made a special request, which I will honor, and that was to try it side-by-side with the 2013 Bourbon. He sent me another sample of that.


I’m grateful to BHAKTA Spirits for this opportunity to #DrinkCurious.  Let’s get this rolling…


Appearance: I poured both Bourbons in Glencairn glasses to sip neat.

2014 – The whiskey was the color of rust, producing a thin rim that shed thick, wavy tears.

2013 -  The orange-amber liquid left a thin, fragile rim on the wall, releasing tiny, sticky droplets.



2014 – I smelled plums, raisins, bananas, butterscotch, almonds, and an undertone of brandy. Drawing the air into my mouth, I found milk chocolate.

2013 -  The aroma included chocolate, vanilla, plums, berries, nutmeg, and oak. Plums were captured when I pulled the air through my lips.



2014 – The viscous texture coated my tongue as I tasted plums, candied cherries, and molasses on the front of my palate. The middle was reminiscent of a 3 Musketeers candy bar. The back featured French oak, ginger, and raisins.

2013 – This whiskey had a silky texture. I tasted plums, berries, and baked apples on the front of my palate. The mid-palate included hazelnuts, cocoa, and butterscotch. French oak, old leather, and sweet cigar tobacco were on the back. 



2014 - Initially, this Bourbon's finish was gone in a flash. However, after the third sip, it stuck around for a handful of minutes. Flavors of plums, raisins, ginger, and molasses—especially the molasses—were enchanting.

2013 – Plums mingled with butterscotch and baked apples. Tobacco and old leather stuck around as well. The last note to remain was hazelnuts. It was a warm, long-lasting finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The 2013 Bourbon already earned my Bottle rating. As such, I’ll leave this section exclusively for the 2014 Bourbon.


The 2014 Bourbon provided a rich nosing experience and spotlighted the Armagnac component – far more than the palate or finish. I was disappointed by the first two sips when nothing was left behind; I could barely pluck what was on my palate.


If you watched Star Trek: Deep Space 9, you know how the Bajoran wormhole opened. That’s how I felt when I took that third sip of this Bourbon. I was stunned; my frown turned upside down. Look, the chances of you finding another 9-year Bourbon finished in 50-year Armagnac casks are slim, and this whiskey is a pleasurable experience. As such, it has earned my Bottle rating. Cheers!


Final Thoughts: Despite their similarities, these were two very different Bourbons, and this supports what I’ve been saying for years:  Barrels are like snowflakes – you can take the same distillate off the same still at the same time, place it at the same entry proof in identical barrels of equal char levels, and stick them in the same warehouse adjacent to one another for precisely the same amount of time, and you will still wind up with two different whiskeys.


The nose of the 2013 was superior to that of the 2014 release. As great as the 2013 tasted, I believe it was eclipsed by the 2014, yet the 2013 didn’t worry me the same way the 2014 did.


These are both excellent Bourbons. If you saw both of these on a store shelf, I’d go with the 2014. I believe it has more depth than the 2013. But you’d wind up happy either way. Cheers!



My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.