The New Jersey Bourbon and Yacht Club was approached with an opportunity to buy an entire barrel of 6 year-old MGP bourbon in the middle of 2020. During this process, they got to design the label and choose the bottle type to be used for their very own private bottling. The label was made by the group’s resident artist, Dan (@oakandtime) who has been involved in all of the stickers for previous single barrels that they’ve picked. Since this was a private bottling, this is the actual label and not a sticker on the back of the bottle.
Purchased through Hudson Wine Market in New York, this single barrel of bourbon uses MGP’s high-rye mashbill. It was not filtered and was bottled at cask strength (which ended up being 120.2 proof).
The New Jersey Bourbon and Yacht Club christened it “Maiden Voyage.” This fits in with their other single barrel picks that all share a nautical theme. But you’re here because you want to know what this 6 year old bourbon tastes like, right? Let’s dive in. I sampled this neat in a Glencairn.
Nose: The high-rye nature of the mashbill is out in full force on the nose. Notes of cinnamon stick and peppery rye spice let you know there’s going to be some kick. Also, for just six years old, the charred oak scent is quite developed. There are some fun fruit scents such as cherry blossoms and Hi-C fruit punch. I even find a slight hint of cocoa powder which is a fun trait that’s a little off-profile.
Palate: The first sip comes off as very fruit-forward with notes of cherry Twizzlers and citrus peel. I typically get a lot of fruit with high-rye mashbills and this is no exception. Typical MGP flavors of oak, brown sugar and cinnamon are all present and nicely developed while spices like nutmeg and clove add depth. There’s even some mint that gives away the rye in the mashbill.
Finish: After the sip is over, fruit notes of citrus and cherries still remain on your tongue. The tannins aren’t as developed as an older MGP bourbon would get, but I still detect lingering notes of wood polish and new leather. There is a decent amount of peppery heat that sticks around to make you slow down on your sips to let the fire calm down.
For the last 12 months, there has been a flood of five year-old MGP bourbon being released by various non-distiller producers and even MGP themselves. I have been a fan of them because for the price and age they’re all pretty darn good.
This six year single barrel shows that these will continue to improve with age. The high-rye mashbill has always been a favorite of mine because I enjoy the increased amount of fruits that I find with it. Other friends of mine find an increase in the level of spice. But overall, the price, age statement and proof make an unbeatable combination that I would pay for every time.
There’s a large amount of guys in the NJBYC who love to hunt and drink all sorts of highly aged MGP. But since the secondary is going nuts for most of those bottles, they can’t drink them as often as they like because of the expense and rarity.
But when they got their hands on this bottle, they have genuinely enjoyed it. I count myself as one of those who have enjoyed it too. As with all things in bourbon, you can’t always drink the good stuff. So when you still want a satisfying pour for the price, these 6 year old barrels could be the solution to a great bourbon that will scratch your itch and not break your wallet.
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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