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Remus Volstead Reserve 14 Year Review

Remus Volstead Reserve 14 Year Review

While I was on a barrel pick for the Rossville Union Rye private selections at MGP in May last year, one of our guides dropped a somewhat secretive bomb about an upcoming release.  “Do you like Remus Repeal Reserve?” he asked.  “I sure do!” I exclaimed.  Then he told me that not only were they releasing their 3rd batch, but that they were also releasing a 14 year old special bottling of it with a pricetag of $200.  I was happy, but at the same time, I was concerned about the price.  I enjoyed the regular Remus Repeal at $80, but to pay more than twice that amount for roughly 2-3 years more in age means that it better have a couple drops of unicorn tears in the bottle as well.  

So when the Remus Volstead Reserve was released in December, 2019, anticipation was high but it seemed like a lot of people had the same reservations because it was so new and barely reviewed at all.  One of the problems with products that MGP puts out under their own labels is that bloggers out there either aren’t getting pre-release samples or MGP is not going to the right bloggers, because I saw 2 reviews before the December release.  But I was confident in other 14 year MGP bourbon reviews that I had seen (i.e. Boone County and Traverse City Single Barrels) that I figured this would be a safe bet.  So I brought a bottle home to finally find out.  I sampled this neat and from a glencairn.

Tasting Notes


Remus Volstead_1

Nose: There’s a deep, musty oak right off the bat. This was far more musty and deep than any other MPG bourbon I’ve had before.  There was also a rich butter toffee aroma that hinted towards its sweeter side.  The scent of a leather coat comes through to remind me once more of its age followed by toasted orange peel, toasted pecans and toasted cinnamon stick.  There’s some barrel char that also comes through, but the nose is an extremely deep, rich and expensive smelling affair. 

Palate:  The palate is immediately full of oak.  But this oak isn’t bitter, instead it’s sweet and has just the right amount of spice coming off of it.  There’s luxardo cherries that are sweet, but decadently so.  The age continues to show through with sweet pipe tobacco and salted caramel taffy.  The intensity of all of these flavors has been turned up to “10.”

Finish: At the very end of the sip, it’s like my mouth has been flooded by sweet, rich tobacco.  There’s also a very well restrained, yet powerful oak spice that lingers for a very long time.  The toffee and toasted pecans show back up from the nose during the finish as well to keep the sweetness within the finish for as long as it lasts.

Score: 9.2/10


Remus Volstead_2

Hot damn, this is the one I’ve been waiting for!  This bottle did not let me down.  Layered and rich beyond belief, the Remus really relaxes and focuses you on all of the things the barrel imparts on some fantastic bourbon.  I worried that the oak would be too much and that was not the case here.  In fact, if the oak tasted and smelled this good at 14 years old, I hypothesize that there may be another release in 2020 with a 15 year old age statement on the bottle (but hopefully not higher price tag!) that pushes the envelope even further!  But what really stood out was that this was not a one-sided tannic affair and that I could actually taste some very deep and flavorful fruit notes. 

Final Thoughts

MGP got this all right from the packaging (fantastic looking bottle, premium labeling, heavy stopper, exquisite box design) to the juice inside.  If I was ever in question before tasting the juice, I am not now.  I have high hopes for what MGP is cooking up next and with their upcoming “Single Barrel” program that they’re launching under their own labels (a first! shhhhh), I think that we’re going to keep being impressed for years to come. 

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Rating Breakdown

1 | Disgusting | Drain pour

2 | Poor | Forced myself to drink it

3 | Bad | Flawed

4 | Sub-par | Many things I’d rather have

5 | Good | Good, solid, ordinary

6 | Very Good | Better than average

7 | Great | Well above average

8 | Excellent | Exceptional

9 | Incredible | Extraordinary

10 | Insurpassable | Nothing Else Comes Close

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