I recently visited the Dueling Grounds Distillery in Franklin, Kentucky and brought back three bottles of their products to taste with Matt. Matt had never done a tasting that included a new make spirit, and two other aged Bourbons before, and he found this an interesting experience. He had a chance to better understand what flavors come from the grains, yeast, water and distillation process and what comes from maturation of the whiskey. These three products are all from a wheated Bourbon mash bill. They have a 120 barrel entry proof. Here are our tasting notes.
Kentucky Clear New Make Spirit
Age: Unaged Spirit
- Mike: Buttered corn on the cob with a little cardamom spice and apple.
- Matt: Buttered popcorn, citrus and a little vanilla sweetness.
- Mike: Buttered corn, cardamom spice, green apples. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the apple notes become stronger. Tasted with a pecan and the spice becomes a floral white pepper.
- Matt: Corn, cardamom and citrus fruit. The dried cranberry gave it the flavor of a citrus Sweet Tart candy. The pecan made the citrus a lemon zest and brought out some vanilla.
- Mike: Lots of corn and lingering notes of apples. The dried cranberry gave the finish a little more apple. The pecan made the finish a peppery corn on the cob.
- Matt: Spicy corn. The dried cranberry sweetened it to taste of candy corn. The pecan made the finish hot, buttered corn
Linkumpinch Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon
Age: Four Years Old
- Mike: Vanilla, cardamom spice, apples and Oak wood.
- Matt: Caramel and ginger with some floral notes and oak wood.
- Mike: Vanilla, apples, cardamom, allspice and oak wood. The dried cranberry brought out the apples and the allspice. The pecan made the spice a black pepper and enhanced the vanilla.
- Matt: A creamy mouth-feel with caramel, cocoa and cereal with a little oak wood. The dried cranberry brought out notes of cherries and lemonade. The pecan made it taste of a candy apple with caramel and nuts.
- Mike: Long with oak and spice. The dried cranberry made the finish shorter and added lingering notes of ripe apples. The pecan made the finish very long with oak and black pepper.
- Matt: Long with oak and cayenne pepper spice. The dried cranberry reduced the spice and left a nice warm oak wood. The pecan made it very long with oak, spice and a lingering, pleasant warmth.
Linkumpinch Single Barrel Cask Strength, Barrel 68
Age: Four Years Old
- Mike: Rich vanilla, apples, cardamom spice and sweet oak wood.
- Matt: Caramel, vanilla, chocolate and oak. Reminds him of a bag of trail mix.
- Mike: French Vanilla, ripe apples cardamom and black pepper spice, sweet oak wood. The dried cranberry enhanced the apple and black pepper flavors. The pecan added notes of milk chocolate and white pepper.
- Matt: Caramel, chocolate, dried bananas and oak wood. The dried cranberry added notes of wine and grapes. The pecan brought out caramel, cocoa, pepper spice and nuts.
- Mike: Long with oak and spice. The cranberry made the finish very spicy with lots of black pepper and oak. The pecan made the finish very long with oak and white pepper spice.
- Matt: Long with oak and a hot cinnamon spice. The dried cranberry enhanced the cinnamon spice. The pecan made the finish very hot and firey with oak and spice.
I would pair these whiskeys with a cigar with lots of vanilla notes in the smoke. I think I would reach for a Herrera Esteli by Drew Estate.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller