Nose: Light traces of cinnamon and raisin. An alcohol burn is definitely present, but not overpowering.
Palate: Dried cherries fill your mouth instantly and then the palate mellows out into a mixture of peppery citrus and orange peels. Big Bottom presented me with a really interesting taste. I can’t recall ever tasting anything quite like this. It fills your mouth with a slight burn up front, but at 111 proof, the warmth is expected and appreciated. The palate stays with you for a while, allowing you to really enjoy the taste of this bourbon. For such a high proof, it’s very drinkable without adding any water.
That being said, after adding a few drops of water, the nose didn’t change. But, with the water, the palate morphs into a nice spicy bourbon with stronger hints of pepper & citrus. Unfortunately, that delicious dried cherry taste vanished. I’d recommend trying it straight before diluting it to taste so that you can experience that unique dried cherry flavor.
Finish: The finish on this bourbon is long and mellow. The fruit and citrus of the palate adds a very slight new wood taste in the finish, with something else lingering in the background. Each time I took a sip, I got a consistent palate, but I kept trying to chase that lingering background taste for those additional slight flavors.
Adding a few drops of water cleared the finish right up. The bourbon retained that new wood flavor, but a distinct and very mellow nut flavor came into play. It was subtle, more along the lines of plain walnuts mixed with a few almonds, but definitely present.
Uniqueness: While they may not make their own bourbon, Big Bottom has done a fantastic job of bottling this bourbon just at the right time. You get a really interesting bourbon that makes you ponder what’s going on with every sip.
I do wish Big Bottom would provide more information on this product, as I’m really interested to know how long this was aged in Indiana versus in their own aging warehouse in Oregon. I'd also like to know what effect the weather of the Pacific Northwest had on the aging process.
Value: For $40 this is a great deal. Sure Big Bottom isn’t distilling their own bourbon, but they pulled this barrel at just the right time to bottle. Having discovered this bourbon for the first time in Portland, I’m glad that I took a chance on this little gem. Still in very limited distribution throughout the US, I would highly recommend picking up a bottle if you can find one.
Overall: A great bourbon that left me yearning to try more of Big Bottom’s products. Shame that the distribution is so limited, as this single barrel proves to be a great value in my book! I’ll be interested to see how their future products that were 100% aged in Oregon turn out a few years down the road.
To sum it up: A really interesting bourbon that makes you ponder what’s going on with every sip.
-Jordan - Reviewed: 7/2014
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