*Sincere thanks to Limestone Branch Distillery and Common Ground PR for the sample.
Short and sweet and to the point this one will be. Luxco and Limestone Branch Distillery’s revitalization of the Yellowstone brand has created not just a great story, but some great bourbon as well. If you’d like, you can catch up here on all the juicy details with my write-up of last years limited edition Yellowstone. Suffice it to say, an old, storied brand had fallen into squalor but then was, in part, turned over to the distilling descendants of the man who created the brand, and given a beautiful new look and the many steps up in quality that it deserved.
The 2016 Yellowstone Limited Edition was comprised of both 12 year old and 7 year old bourbons which were then married and finished for a period of time in new wine barrels that were toasted rather than charred. The Yellowstone 2017 Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon is similar to last year’s model with one exciting addition. The 12 year old and 7 year old whiskeys are joined this year by some of the first four year old straight bourbon produced at the Limestone Branch distillery. It took a while, but the Stephen and Paul Beam are now actually producing the whiskey for a brand a distant relative established more than 140 years ago. As someone who enjoys the history of all this almost as much as I enjoy the whiskey…I find this fairly satisfying. Also of note, Limestone Branch had the toasted barrels from 2016’s edition sent to Kelvin Cooperage where a light char was added to the toast. These same barrels were then used to finish the 2017 edition…a unique final step to be sure. This roughly 8000 bottle limited edition has been packaged in the same excellent David Cole Creative design work as the 2016 model and was released in October of 2017.
The Nose: Wow. Heady, rich, and rugged…and no, I’m not referring to myself. While this has its sweet side, it’s the darker earthier notes that shine. There’s Demerara sugar, spiced orange, and a little authentic butterscotch. Close behind that, there’s smoky vanilla bean, roasted chestnuts, faint pipe tobacco, and a little oiled leather. The wood is present and strong. but not at all overbearing – both old polished oak and new sawn boards with nicely integrated tannins. Spice notes of Vietnamese cinnamon, sweet clove, and Tellicherry peppercorns round things out.
The Palate: More wow. Almost instantly, there’s a lively, wonderful depth to the palate. More dark sugars, perhaps even burnt crème brûlée, along with more spiced juicy orange and a bit of dried red fruits. There’s more earthy vanilla bean, and some toasted walnuts. Leather and tobacco leaf notes carry over from the nose, but they’re more subdued on the palate. A bit more spicy rye comes through here, but it’s still fairly subtle. The oak is solid and weighty, but again well-integrated. Mouth-watering, grippy tannins, clove, hot cinnamon, a little nutmeg, crushed peppercorns, and charred wood lead to the finish.
The Finish: A bit of burnt caramel at first, but mostly there’s just lingering notes of old oak and leather, slightly peppery, with a bit of slightly burnt popcorn and barrel char towards the very end.
Thoughts: This is a beautiful, expressive, complex bourbon. There’s a unique, earthy complexity here that was instantly appealing. This manages to be robust and rugged, and nuanced and composed at the same time. Its barrel-forward flavor profile makes it feel a little older than it is, though it also maintains enough of a youthful brightness to keep things balanced. An exciting, satisfying, well executed piece of whiskey-making. Highly recommended.
- Haara, Brian. “Sipp’n Corn Bourbon Review – Yellowstone 2017 Limited Edition.” Sipp’n Corn®, 20 Dec. 2017, sippncorn.blogspot.com/2017/12/sippn-corn-bourbon-review-yellowstone.html.
- Lemon, Peter. “Yellowstone 2016 Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon – Review.” THE CASKS, 7 Mar. 2017, thecasks.com/2017/03/07/yellowstone-2016-limited-edition-kentucky-straight-bourbon-review/.
- “Yellowstone® Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon 2017 Launching in October.” 12 Oct. 2017. Press Release.