Score: 9.2 / 10
Distillery: Jim Beam Distillery
Type: Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon
This ladies and gentleman is one of our highest rated reasonably budget pick picks. Its a shame that the 14.5 year doesn't seem to be happening anymore, but overall this is a masterpiece on any shelf. Most larger stores are getting picks of this stuff as well as our very own All Things Whiskey podcast!
Before you skip on this because it takes on the name and similar age of the basic 9yr, take a second look at the ABV. It's amazing what happens to this juice at cask strength. When it's hand picked before getting watered down and blended into 9 yr, it is truly something else all together.
Nose: Classic bourbon notes of vanilla, caramel and brown sugar join together with a distinct Knob Creek earthiness. Nosing around more, I pick up snicker doodle cookie, browned butter, pear, and oak.
Palate: Cinnamon and tingling spice hit the tongue first before the whiskey thoroughly coats and expands over the rest of the palate bringing forth luscious caramel and crisp red apples. On the second half of the drinking experience this whiskey explodes into a fiery spice loaded with black pepper, cinnamon and oak. In between those flavors I find more pear and a quick jolt of lemon zest. Right on the very back end of the palate there is a potent bubble gum note that keeps popping up. Further sips yield a similar mouthfeel that is viscous and offers a nice spicy cinnamon through the entire drinking experience.
Finish: Moderate to long in length and very tannic. My mouth dried out quickly as a delightful black pepper simmers and leaves lemon rind, oak and a dry cinnamon. After a good while the more salient flavors fade leaving astringent rye spice that turns into a cooling spearmint gum flavor.
S+ Sensational - The Pinnacle (9.5+)
A - AXEceptional (astounding) (9-9.5)
B - bravo (step aBove average) (8-8.9)
C - competent (7-7.9)
D - disappointing (6-6.9)
F - flush it down the toilet (fail) (5.9 below)
Availability? Common. The years seem to be changing on this. Who knows what is next. You shouldn't really care though. Instead just don't even read it and put it in yo cart!