A little over four and a half years ago, I last reviewed Old Pogue. It was a bottle that my wife liked to get whenever we would go to Kentucky. At the time, my take was:
"Overall: I liked it. I'll certainly buy it again. It's not a go-to bourbon, but it'll do when the mood strikes."
In the intervening years, as bourbon stocks for sourcing have run low, the product has become much harder to find. being released only intermittently. But while at BourbonFest this past September, I started seeing it on the shelves again. This time the price had gone up considerably, having reached over $100 per bottle.
I was reluctant to pay that much for it, and my wife was conflicted about it. Well, until she got a bidding number at the Master Distiller's Auction at the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History. Then all of a sudden she could justify it as a charitable gift to the museum that happened to come with a bottle of bourbon. The distillery couldn't be reached for comment, so I'm not sure if it is a current bottle or an older batch, but in any case, a bottle came home with us in September.
Knowing that the source of the bourbon was probably quite different than it was previously, I was curious to see how the juice compared to what I had reviewed last time. Luckily back then, I used to keep a sample library of every purchase. And so I pulled out an Old Pogue sample and tasted them head-to-head. Here is what I found:
Old Pogue Master's Select: Batch 6822
Purchase info: You don't really expect that I'll remember where I bought this back in 2012/13 do you? I didn't think so. But I want to say it was in the $40-50 range.
Details: 45.5% ABV. Batch 6822
Nose: Caramel, green apple, vanilla and baking spice.
Mouth: Lightly flavored with caramel, vanilla, and baking spice.
Finish: Gentle burn with lingering green apple and baking spice.
Thoughts: This is good. It isn't a "knock-your-socks-off" powerhouse of a bourbon, but it is a very tasty one. It almost reminds me of one of the good batches of Angel's Envy, just without the port flavors.
Old Pogue Master's Select: Batch 6899
Purchase info: Roughly $100 at the 2017 Master Distiller's Auction to benefit the Oscar Getz Museum in Bardstown, KY. (Suggested retail price is $110 for a 750 mL)
Details: 45.5% ABV. Batch 6899
Nose: Caramel, vanilla, red fruit, cotton candy, wintergreen and floral notes.
Mouth: Cinnamon, mint, floral notes, along with wintergreen candy.
Finish: Warm with lingering wintergreen, mint, and spice notes.
Thoughts: While I used to enjoy Old Pogue, I never liked it quite as much as my wife did. I tend to like powerful bourbons (flavor not proof) that fill the mouth with flavor. So, I would normally leave the bottle for her to enjoy so that she could have more of it.
Not this time. This bottle has the kind of mouth-filling flavor that my wife will need to share. I like this very much. Not so sure I want to pay this much for it though.
In summary, these are very different. I really like the newer bottle better while my wife prefers the old one. Both of us prefer the old price, as you might expect.
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