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Boone County 14 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon (Barrel B0598) Review

Boone County 14 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon (Barrel B0598) Review

Boone County Distilling Co. first began operations in 2015 as a small distillery with plans to produce their own whiskey.  But since whiskey takes time to age, they concentrated on producing a lineup of clear spirits and sourced bourbon from nearby MGP to get their brand off the ground.  Many of their initial bottlings of MGP whiskey were aged between 10 and 12 years old.  Out of those barrels, many were declared good enough to be sold as single barrels.  Others that didn’t make the cut and were blended together into batches and proofed down to 90.8 proof. 

Single Barrels of MGP Bourbon

However, as MGP’s available stocks rapidly declined after 2017-2018, Boone County could no longer get access to barrels anymore.  This forced them to announce that their final barrels of MGP were being bottled up and to get them while you could.  Some of the last barrels they had recently turned 14 years old. This meant that Boone County was one of the few producers to bottle 14 year-old aged-stated Single Barrels of MGP bourbon.

While many of the 12 year barrels were exceptional, the initial round of reviews of a handful of 14 year old bottles were less than positive.  It seems as if those two extra years weren’t kind on the liquid inside with many reviewers complaining about how over-oaked they had become.  But there was one barrel that bucked the trend and became a little bit of a cult sensation overnight: B0598.  Bottled at 109.4 proof, this was one of the last of this batch of barrels that Boone County put out.  So what’s it like?  I sat down to sample this like I always do: neat and in a Glencairn.

Tasting Notes

Nose: The oak on this one is beautiful in its aroma and mellowness.  There’s a lot of chocolate scents as well with heavy vanilla to boot.  I can also detect a lot of heavy fruit flavors like apple dumplings and orange rinds.  The depth of this nose is hard to put into words.

Palate: Lot’s of fruit and lots of tobacco are immediately apparent.  The oak taste is just as perfect as it was on the nose and never gets bitter.  There is a rich sweetness, much like molasses and also some great baking spices like nutmeg and cinnamon as well.  The rye spice that swirls around is something that adds complexity to an already stellar palate.

Finish: The theme of this bottle seems to be how well the oak is integrated and it doesn’t stop at the finish.  Instead, a wonderfully balanced bit of seasoned oak lingers around on the finish while the thickness of the mouthfeel and the orange zest of the liquid combine to create an almost “orange creamsicle” character at the end.  It’s something that is really, hauntingly good.  Baking spices like cinnamon, clove and even a blast of pipe tobacco add to the rich character that will leave an impression on its character.

Score: 8.8/10

Boone County’s Single Barrel program went out with a bang when they bottled up barrel B0598.  It was so close to perfection and delivered a superb sip from start to finish.  This truly is a great representation of just how high of a ceiling that MGP bourbon can get. It’s a shame so few will get to taste it.

Final Thoughts

The rating that I gave this is indicative of the fantastic profile of the bourbon. It’s rich, oaky and has layers of complexity. The only thing I would wish it could have more of was some extra proof, but that’s really just because I wanted the flavors to be stronger so I could enjoy it even more. Purists will probably disagree with me on that because 105-110 seems to be the sweet spot for many whiskies so that they don’t run the risk of burning out your tastebuds before you finish.

Make no mistake about my thoughts on this bottle. This is truly one of the greats from a small window of time where great single barrels of double-digit aged MGP was somewhat common. It awakened many enthusiasts’ eyes to what Indiana was capable of and greatness like this might not be bottled up in such a way again.

Ratings Breakdown

1 | Disgusting | Drain pour (Example: Jeffers Creek)

2 | Poor | Forced myself to drink it

3 | Bad | Flawed (AD Laws 4 Grain BiB, Clyde Mays anything)

4 | Sub-par | Many things I’d rather have (Tincup 10 year)

5 | Good | Good, solid, ordinary (Larceny, Sazerac Rye)

6 | Very Good | Better than average (Buffalo Trace, OGD BiB)

7 | Great | Well above average (Old Ezra Barrel Proof, Old Weller Antique)

8 | Excellent | Exceptional (Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye, Four Roses Barrel Strength)

9 | Incredible | Extraordinary (GTS, 13 Year MGP or Canadian Rye)

10 | Insurpassable | Nothing Else Comes Close (William Larue Weller)

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