I was in Westport Whiskey & Wine the other day and saw this bottle of Saint Cloud Kentucky Straight Bourbon. It is bottled by Saint Cloud Bourbon Company of Sparta, Kentucky. My first thoughts were “Sparta, Kentucky. That must mean Royce Neeley is bottling it for whomever is producing this whiskey.” That is a good sign as I feel that Royce is an excellent distiller and has a good palate and whoever this bottler is, hopefully, they are letting Royce influence their barrel selection. I inquired to one of Westport’s employees if they had tried it and what they thought. They answered it was pretty good, but rather expensive. It was over $100 a bottle. Intrigued, I went ahead and purchased a bottle.
Information is scarce about this whiskey. The label does state that it is Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey of seven years old and bottled at 122 proof. It is made from corn, rye and malted barley and aged in white oak barrels. Not anything new or unexpected from a straight Bourbon. No percentages of the grains in the mash bill. No barrel entry proof. Nothing on the bottle justifies the high dollar price other than an age statement of seven years old and a high proof.
The website is a bit more helpful. The person behind the brand is Ray Walker and he comes from a wine background, having worked in a Winery making Grand Cru wines in Burgundy, France before entering the Bourbon market. He is applying his skills of blending wine to Bourbon. This is a single barrel product, so I don’t see that skill being applied here, but he does have a good palate, that is if this bottle is a good example of his tastes. He has named this barrel “Niobe” and it is bottle 163.
Saint Cloud Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Age: 7 Years Old
- Mike: Caramel and citrus notes with a little baking spice and oak.
- Matt: Caramel, cinnamon and orange citrus.
- Mike: Caramel and lots of cinnamon spice with a hint of oak. Think “Red Hots” candy. Tasted with a dried cranberry and even more cinnamon but less caramel sweetness. Tasted with a pecan the cinnamon is reduced and a tangerine citrus note comes forward.
- Matt: Not complex – caramel and a lot of cinnamon. The dried cranberry added some orange zest but was still dominated by the cinnamon spice. The pecan added some toasted oak wood but still strong cinnamon flavor dominating the taste.
- Mike: Long with cinnamon and oak wood. The dried cranberry reduced the oak and strengthened the cinnamon spice. The pecan made the finish oak dominant with just a hint of cinnamon spice.
- Matt: Lots of cinnamon with only a hint of oak. The dried cranberry made the finish even longer with cinnamon and oak. The pecan brought out a leather and oak finish with only a hint of cinnamon spice.
I would pair this Bourbon with a cigar that has lots of earthy and vanilla notes in the smoke, so as to try to tame the cinnamon spice. I think a Rocky Patel Decades would be my first try, but a Nub Habano might be my second choice.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller