Wathen's Kentucky Bourbon

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Appearance:

Deep russet and fairly dark in color, this is a rich looking bourbon.

Nose:

Strong notes of vanilla and oak dominate the nose with an earthy quality underlying it.  there are hints of bubblegum and circus peanuts that I often find in recent Heaven Hill products that may give a clue as to the provenance of the distillate.

Palate:

This is where is gets a little disappointing.  It starts off well enough with cinnamon and vanilla hitting the front of the palate, but that quickly gives way to a very astringent alcohol flavor that speaks of a barrel picked far too soon to be bottled.  It’s that “not quite aged, but not quite white dog” sensation that seems to numb the tongue with licorice and ethanol.

Finish:

The ethanol notes continues, unfortunately, but some oak and tannins re-enter near the tail end of this medium-to-long finish.

Synopsis:

I know quite a few people who enjoy Wathen’s, usually when paired with a cigar.  And maybe that’s the appropriate format here, as the tobacco would compliment the earthy notes on the nose and perhaps deaden the alcohol a bit.  Not one to admit defeat, I splashed this with water and was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.  The alcohol was deadened nearly completely with only a small splash, and the oak notes were amplified.  In addition, the nose was changed entirely.  Gone were the sweet circus peanuts and caramel, and in its place was a spicy citrus orange and lemon zest- almost nose hair prickling.

Read the full review: Modern Thirst