Over the last few years, I have watched local distillery (Huber’s) Starlight release various whiskies with mounting curiosity. Located in Indiana about 20 miles north of Louisville, Huber’s initially started as a winery and orchard. But with access to so many fruits, brandy distilling was inevitable. So pot stills were added soon thereafter. For years now, the Huber’s honed their craft on various brandies and applejack.
Eventually, they started to see that whiskey was becoming more popular and the decision was made to start distilling with grain. I could recite all of the things I learned in the recent Bourbon Pursuit podcast with the Huber’s on their whole distilling operation, but for now what you need to know is that the father and his two sons share the responsibilities of distilling on different days. Their products all use a sweet mash and they have various yeast strains to ferment with.
Each one distills, selects barrels and blends according to their own tastes too. It seems like a very non-uniform way of producing spirits, but they’ve been having tremendous success recently. Sometime in 2019, they also revamped their packaging with clean, uncluttered labels with bright, bold colors. This is what made their bottles catch my eye on the shelves of my local liquor stores.
Today I have a bottle of their Olorosso Sherry-finished bourbon. It is a single barrel and is bottled at 111.4 proof. One of the most striking things about this bourbon is how dark it appears after it’s been poured. “Motor Oil” is a common analogy among whiskey enthusiasts when a liquid is this dark, and I think it’s very appropriate here . But we’re not here to talk about appearances, how does it taste? Let’s find out! I sampled this neat and from a Glencairn.
Nose: Swirling scents of dark red fruits with a dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg open up with each sip. As with other sherry-finished whiskies I’ve had in the past, the smell of chocolate, specifically warm chocolate sauce, is also present. There’s a load of rich aromas like melted butter, warm mulled wine and seasoned wood. Green peppercorns produce an extra prickle of spice on the nose, giving it even more character.
Palate: Two identifiable traits of most sherry finished bourbons are the delicious tobacco flavors that accompany all of those delicious red wine notes, and there are plenty of both here. There’s also notes of black cherry soda, plums, dates and ripe apples that all combine for a huge fruit-filled mouth punch. Honeyed sweetness rounds everything out to keep this bourbon balanced.
Finish: Only on the finish do I detect a touch of astringency (which sometimes comes with younger distillate). Otherwise, the finish gets a little bit woody with notes of drying oak, barrel char, ash and green wood all present. A rye component also lingers around providing cooling menthol, mint and spicy peppercorns. Some of the darker fruit flavors from the palate remain, but overall the sweetness on the finish seems to drop off from how the sip first started.
I’m generally a sucker for finished bourbons and this one hit some of my favorite notes with cherry soda, dark red fruits and tobacco. The nose is captivating and inviting with the rich, buttery notes. The decision to keep it barrel proof also elevates it to a place where the price seems right and you get a full-bodied experience with every sip.
Overall, finishing this bourbon in sherry was the right call and was really well done. If there is one thing that I dinged this bottle on, it would be the mild astringency I detected on the finish, but that seems to only be a minor quibble in an otherwise flavor-packed experience.
Starlight continues to release new and exciting limited edition barrel finishes, but this sherry-finished one appears to be a mainstay. That’s great in my opinion because I could go back to this all day long. It’s one of the more affordable and accessible barrel proof, sherry finished bourbons you can find. If you’re a person who likes wine-finished bourbons like Angel’s Envy, then I would absolutely recommend that you give this one a try instead. So if you’re looking for a unique bottle to gift or just keep for yourself, then look no further than this one. It’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face with each sip.
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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