My new favorite “Small Batch” bourbon
Last week I decided to try something. I’d read an article describing a recipe for peach infused bourbon. Having had a few peach and bourbon cocktails, I was excited to try it myself. I love making infusions, though as I have stated on more than one occasion, I like making them more than drinking them. I almost always end up dumping them out after about a year in the cupboard.
Being the geeky obsessive type, I decided that I really needed the right bourbon to infuse. It had to really capture the caramel and vanilla flavors as well as present a nice spiciness that could stand up to the peach.
I did a little looking through my notes and decided that Maker’s 46 would be darn near perfect…except I didn’t have any. So after thinking about it for a bit I decided to actually look at what I did have in the house. I’d decided that a nice soft wheater would probably be perfect. Looking at my selection of wheated bourbons I landed first on Larceny, but I wanted the proof to be somewhere in the 100 proof plus range (as higher proof alcohols will absorb the other flavors faster) and Larceny was only 92. Then I looked at Old Weller Antique. It had the proof, but was also a bit too hot for what I was thinking.
I eventually decided that I was going to blend the two. This way, maybe I could have the best of both worlds. As I was standing there though, I had another thought. This year’s Evan Williams Single Barrel was pretty caramel and spice forward as well. And then I looked over at the Booker’s on the shelf. That batch, though strong, also presented those flavors well.
I was recently asked how I go about deciding what to put into a blend. This is a perfect example of how I go through the blending process. First I start with a goal. In this case I had a flavor profile in mind. Caramel forward with a nice spice. Then I go about finding those ingredients that will give me that flavor. Of course there is often some trial and error. I normally start with equal parts and move from there should the need arise. But in this case, everything just clicked right from the start at equal proportions.
I really think this is the best blend I’ve made. And that includes the experiments I did with all the Four Roses Single barrels. But here is the best part: all of these bourbons are readily available in most parts of the country.
Arok’s Small Batch - Mix of distilleries edition
Details: Equal parts of Larceny (Heaven Hill), Evan Williams Single Barrel 2006 vintage (Heaven Hill), Old Weller Antique (Buffalo Trace) and Booker’s Batch# 2013-6 (Beam). Approximate final ABV is 51.44%.
Nose: Initially the nose on this is very closed. It really benefits from some time in the glass. After sitting for a bit, there is a very strong caramel and vanilla presence. Subtle hints of fruit follow along with a nice almond scent. Overall this is the type of very sweet nose that I could sit and smell all day.
Mouth: Some nice heat. Strong caramel and vanilla presence again along with black pepper, almond, hints of cherry and some nice oak tannins.
Finish: Long, spicy finish with lingering black pepper and oak tannins.
I’ve already stated my thoughts above. I think this is the best blend I’ve created to date and it is one that I will probably be coming back to on more than one occasion. But I’m guessing you are asking how it worked with the peaches…and to be fair, I really don’t know. It was too good to use in that way. So if you have the ingredients on hand I really recommend trying this. And if it isn’t quite right for you think about what will make it better and adjust it. See if you can’t dial in your new favorite small batch bourbon.
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