Rosemary and I were recently invited to the Bardstown Bourbon Company Distillery for the release of their newest product – The Phifer Pavitt Reserve Bourbon. Suzanne Phifer Pavitt is a vintner on the north side of the Napa Valley who makes a very nice Cabernet Sauvignon Wine and agreed to furnish barrels for this newest product in their Collaboration Series. The whiskey starts with a 9 year old Tennessee distilled Bourbon that is 84% corn, 8% rye and 8% barley malt. It was 110 proof when added to the wine barrels. These barrels were dumped at the winery and immediately wrapped in plastic and placed in a refrigerated trailer to be shipped as quickly as possible to Kentucky to be filled with the Bourbon. Steve Nally, the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame Master Distiller for Bardstown Bourbon Company estimates that there were about two gallons of residue wine in each barrel when shipped. After aging in these barrels for about 19 months, the finished product was 107 proof.
I am not a big fan of most wine finished Bourbons. I believe that if you are going to finish a whiskey in wine barrels then the wine taste should enhance the Bourbon and not dominate the flavor. Steve and Suzanne have done a good job balancing the flavors with this Bourbon. There is just the right amount of wine flavor in the Bourbon so you know it is there, but the Bourbon is still the main attraction. I would recommend this product to anyone who likes a fruity note to their whiskey.
Bardstown Bourbon Company Collaboration Series, Phifer Pavitt Bourbon
Age: No Age Statement
Nose: Raisins and black currants with some vanilla and oak. There is just a hint of black pepper spice in the background.
Taste: Caramel and fruit – raspberries and blackberries with notes of dark chocolate and fine pipe tobacco. Just a little bit of pepper spice hides in the background. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the fruit is reduced as the chocolate and caramel come forward with the spice becoming more baking spice with nutmeg and allspice. Tasted with a pecan and the raspberry is joined by notes of cherries and the baking spices become cinnamon and nutmeg. This is a complex Bourbon that will pair well with many foods.
Finish: Medium long with oak, chocolate and a hint of pepper spice. The cranberry makes the finish longer with more oak and baking spices. The pecan also lengthens the finish with lots of oak.
I am pairing this Bourbon with a Nat Sherman Schrader cigar. This cigar was designed to pair well with wine with lots of vanilla and tobacco flavor with just a hint of earthiness and spice in the smoke. The Bourbon reduced the spice but brought forward the earthiness in the form of truffles in the smoke. The smoke brought out the fruit in the form of grapes and black currants with dark chocolate and baking spices in the Bourbon. A very nice pairing.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller