Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery's 10 "Summers Old" Handmade Bourbon has become my benchmark for a smooth, complex, aged Bourbon. I purchased this bottle at the Kenmore, NY location of Prime Wine & Spirits. Standing in the spirit section, in front of a wall of Bourbon and American whiskey, my eye was drawn to the old timey label design. Enchanted by the label and, noticing that it's 53.5% ABV, I picked 'er up on sight only.
Nice eh? My bottle no. B3982
Nose: Strong and lively with sweet aromas of butterscotch toffee, vanilla, pralines, baked apple and spice.
Palate: Astonishingly smooth for such a high proof! Rich buttery caramel, topped with nutmeg and cloves. A tinge of medicinal sweetness appears just before the finish. With water the aforementioned tinge becomes more resinous, reminiscent of eucalyptus and synthetic cherry?
Finish: Delightfully smooth. The buttery caramel goes on, and on! Accented by touches of bright cherry, the long finish fades into a gentle mouth-coating blend of baking spice and vanilla.
Overall: Amazing. I suspect that there's some wheat in here as the sweetness is perfectly balanced. As I mentioned above, this is my benchmark Bourbon and it's quite possibly the best I've tasted to date. I'm definitely going to be sad when I finish the bottle as I can't get it in the LCBO. Fortunately for we Torontonians, the Combine Eatery has some of the older expressions. I hope they can keep the bar stocked until I get there...
If you are looking for a sippin' Bourbon, buy this on sight. In fact, buy two and sell me one.