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Vance’s Private Select (MGP Wheated Bourbon Mashbill)

Vance’s Private Select (MGP Wheated Bourbon Mashbill)

A friend of mine recently gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  Would I be interested in an almost 7 year old, 114 proof MGP wheated bourbon for $50?  I could barely contain my enthusiasm.  I knew that MGP was working on a wheated bourbon mashbill when I first saw Boone County release single barrels of 6 year old wheated bourbon in late 2019.  For reference, MGP’s wheated mashbill is said to be 51% corn, 45% wheat and 4% malted barley.  Boone County priced theirs well above the $10/year-aged price that is typical of most MGP whiskies.  There also was not many reviews out there talking about it, so I figured it was a bust.  But at the price point I was offered for this particular bottle, I couldn’t turn it down even if there was a chance it was awful.

Vance’s Private Select

I don’t know much about the label “Vance’s Private Select” but I believe the background is a store owner in New Jersey buys barrels and bottles them under his own label using whatever bottle he wants.  This bottle shape is very similar to an EH Taylor bottle, which is a huge plus in my book because it’s an attractive design. 

The label is simple, but doesn’t provide much information except that it is from Indiana and the proof is 114.  The cork is real with a nice wood topper.  Overall, this feels like a much more expensive bottle.  But would the bourbon inside be worth it?  There’s only one way to find out.  I sampled this neat and in a Glencairn.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Sweet molasses and cinnamon toast crunch cereal give me insight into what lies ahead.  There’s also hints of lightly roasted coffee beans, vanilla cupcakes and toasted orange notes.  I’m somewhat surprised to find that a nice woody character can be detected at just 7 years old, but it’s not unusual for most MGP products I’ve had.

Palate: The mouthfeel is thick and rich like a caramel latte.  The 114 proof shows its teeth with some nice smoldering heat in the form of chili powder.  But the sweetness still dominates each sip with sweet molasses cookies and a squeeze of chocolate syrup (which is something I usually find in wheated bourbons).  There’s even fruit notes of fried apples and sweet cherries.  Rounding out the whole taste profile is bitter notes of barrel char, but it doesn’t diminish from the general sweetness of this bourbon.

Finish: A sweet toasted brown sugar sweetness remains.  The finish has great depth and decent oak for 7 years old.  That chocolate character still lingers, only slightly less sweet, like cacao nibs.  Mint and black cherries round out the finish by adding extra complexity.  

Score: 8/10

The more I come back to this bourbon, the more impressed I am.  It is incredibly balanced and has begun to show a complexity that takes most wheated bourbons at least 10 years to achieve (wheated bourbons don’t develop quite as fast in the barrel, which is why whiskies like Pappy Van Winkle can be aged for so long).  Every sip was dominated by sweet treats with the added depth of some oak poking through.  If I’m this impressed now, then I can only imagine how phenomenal this will be at 10 years old and beyond

Final Thoughts

I’m sure MGP is going to be in a tough situation with what they’re going to do once these barrels come of age and become more sought after (make a new label for themselves or sell it to NDPs).  Prices will surely increase, but I hope that this remains a secret for as long as it can.  Also, I’d like to give a shout out to Vance who took the leap to release these bottles and to u/jaydeelulz for hooking me up.  I hear that Vance has released a few more bottlings like this and I can only say what a great job he’s doing by making these available to the masses.

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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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