Per the rules for Tennessee whiskey, the clear distillate is dripped through sugar maple charcoal to “mellow” and filter the spirit. It then is put in new charred oak barrels for a minimum of two years. The taste is smooth, with flavors of caramel, red apple and maple nut goodies, reminiscent of Brach’s candy.
The two new bourbons share similarities, but distinctive flavors and aromas. Both Classic and Reserve have a high rye content in the mash bill. Rye is known to give spice characteristics to whiskey, and Classic offers hints of baking spices on the nose. On the palate, those spice notes give way to citrus, caramelized banana and mint. In Reserve, you can pick out the cinnamon, allspice and ginger. Compared with the 93.3-proof Classic, the higher-alcohol (107.8 proof) Reserve is still pleasant when sipped neat, but a tiny splash of cold water brings hints of maple, leather and tobacco.
In what might feel like a saturated whiskey market, the story of the Nelson brothers, and their resurrection of a family legacy, is unique. And, the whiskey is outstanding, to boot.
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