I’m having a very hard time believing that it has been over two years since I last did one of these posts. It has been so long that I’m thinking a little explanation is in order.
I think that one of the best ways to really learn the differences between bourbons is to compare them head-to-head. That's the theory behind the If You've Had... series. The setup is like this: "If you've had Whiskey A then Whiskey B is..." hotter, spicier, sweeter, more floral, etc. Each section is written as compared to one of the whiskeys. So if you've had that one, but not the others, then that section will be of the most use to you. I try to write this so that there are no value judgments. This way you get to decide based on what you know of Whiskey A if Whiskey B sounds like something you'd want to try.
Up tonight is the family of Very Old Barton bourbons. I’m featuring the 80 proof, the 86 proof, the 90 proof and the 100 proof versions. The 100 proof was until recently a Bonded bourbon, but is no longer. So without further ado, I present the seventh installment of the If You’ve Had… series.
If you’ve had the 80° proof, then the...
86° proof is: similar on the nose, spicier and sweeter on the mouth and spicier on the finish.
90° proof is: sweeter on the nose. It is sharper and shows more caramel on the mouth. The finish is warmer and more flavorful, showing more spice, mint and sweetness.
100° proof is: sweeter and more fruity on the nose. The mouth is much spicier and shows more caramel. The finish is warmer, spicier and has more lingering caramel.
If you’ve had the 86° proof, then the…
80° proof is: more grain forward and shows more cinnamon on the nose and mouth. The finish has less heat but shows more cinnamon flavor.
90° proof is: much sweeter on the nose showing more vanilla sugar cookie. The spice levels on the mouth are similar, but the 90° proof has more concentrated vanilla and caramel. The finish has a hint more spice, but otherwise is very similar.
100° proof is: sweeter on the nose. The mouth and finish are warmer, spicier and sweeter showing more cinnamon and a bit more fruit.
If you’ve had the 90° proof, then the...
80° proof is: more grain forward and shows more cinnamon on the nose and mouth. The finish is drier and more grain forward.
86° proof is: similar, though less sweet on the nose. The mouth similar though the caramel and vanilla flavors aren’t quite as pronounced.
100° proof is: very similar on the nose. The mouth and finish are warmer, spicier and show more fruit.
If you’ve had the 100° proof, then the…
80° proof is: drier and shows more grain on the nose. The mouthfeel is thinner and the mouth shows more grain and less spice. The finish is muted by comparison.
86° proof is: drier on the nose. The mouthfeel is thinner. The mouth is less warm. The finish is less sweet and shows a touch more grain.
90° proof is: showing less wood and less caramel on the nose. The mouth and finish are similar in flavor but less concentrated.
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