Seelbach's Private Reserve Finished Bourbon Batch 001
This will release 9/1 at 3 EST
Proof: 115.5 proof
Age: Blend of 10-years & 2-months Bourbon and 2-years & 6-months bourbon
Finishing Barrel: Toasted French Oak & Ex-bourbon Maple Syrup barrels
Mash Bill: 75/21/4 Corn/Rye/Malted Barley
Bottle Count: 1,040 bottles
Distilled in Indiana, Aged in Tennessee, Finished and bottled in Jacksonville, FL
Tasting Notes: The nose immediately hits with toasted oak and caramelized sugar. There's orange zest, bright cherries and a little bit of baking spice. The proof keep the sweetness on the palate balanced. There are notes of maple, and honey. It transitions easily to black pepper and baking spice. The mouth feel is viscous and decadent. The finish is long! Notes of herbal tea and orange peel show nicely. There's a little bit of ripened fruit as the finish continues to evolve.
The Story: This is Seelbach's first private label release. For our first release I wanted to try something a little different. In all honesty, it started off as more of a joke. I mentioned on a podcast that someone should do a toasted French oak and maple syrup barrel blend. It would be a French toast and maple syrup bourbon. Basically a breakfast bourbon. After playing around with some whiskey samples I thought it may just work!
That's when I decided to sour the first round of bourbon. As stated above, this is a blend of 66% 2-year-and-six-month-old bourbon barrels and 34% 10-year-and-two-month-old bourbon barrels. I then split the bourbon between six barrels. There were three new medium toast French oak barrels from Canton. And, three ex-bourbon maple syrup barrels from Bissell Farms. I reserved about 25 gallons of unfinished bourbon that I could use for blending.
New French oak is tricky. The flavor it imparts is almost immediate. It can quickly turn from wonderful toasted oak, sugar and spice to over overly tannic. I started tasting these barrels every few days. For the French oak we only let it finish for 28 days. This created a lot of the rich and toasted oak notes I was looking for. The maple barrels are as finnicky. I let finish for 60 days. It was enough to add some sweetness and body without getting cloyingly sweet.
Onto blending! To say I over thought this part would be an understatement. I would pull samples and test out various blends. I start with 50/50, 60/40 (French/maple), 40/60 (French/maple), and 45/45/10 (French/maple/unfinished). I finally got to a spot that I loved once the maple hit 60 days. Occam's razor, with a 50/50 (French/maple) and no additional unfinished whiskey. After dumping the barrels, we let them mingle in a note for an additional three months. This was probably excessive. I felt it necessary to integrate the two-sets of stylistically different barrels. I'm thrilled with how this first batch turned out!