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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 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 to be bottled had recently turned 14 years old, so Boone County temporarily became one of the very few distillers in the US to be bottling 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.  But there was one barrel that proved to be a big hit, number B0598.  Bottled at 109.4 proof, this was one of the last (ryed) bourbons 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 could do almost nothing wrong and delivered a superb sip from start to finish. 

Final Thoughts

The score I gave it is indicative of the great profile it has, but the key lacking feature was extra proof needed to crank these great flavors up that extra notch that would’ve made it mind-blowing.  This is nothing new to MGP products that typically carry a very steady range of proofs (110 to 120) unlike their Kentucky brethren that can benefit from aging on the top floors of a wooden rickhouse.

But make no mistake, this bottle of Boone County is as close to perfection as they come and is a bourbon that anyone would enjoy if given the chance.
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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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