Virginia Bourbon Lovers 2022 Selection
This single barrel selection was made by a local group in northern Virginia: Virginia Bourbon Lovers (VBL for short). This barrel was from warehouse G, floor number 1. Bottled at a respectable 125 proof, barrel #17G26-6184 was just over 4 years old when bottled.
More info on VBL can be found on their website where you will find links to their Facebook page and Discord server.
Rich auburn color with a tinge of red. Syrupy thick legs in the glass. Rested for 15 minutes uncapped, with 5-10 drops of water added throughout the tasting in a second Glencairn.
Initial sweetness on the nose of typical and expected vanillins. Some burn caramel and toasted marshmallows. Spiced forward as well with nutmeg and peppercorn aromas. Water brings out some unique citrus notes and a bit of clove. There’s a subtle oak background that brings everything together. Very straightforward nose and is a bit one-dimensional.
The palate is tannic as expected and rather hot! Many of these selections seem to be overly hot and need a fair bit of rest time. Barrel-aged vanilla extract and cinnamon red hots, similar to Old Weller Antique’s profile. Dried ginger heat and a lot of tobacco notes that I rather enjoy. There’s a mineral water flavor of slate, iron, and charcoal. Black coffee or tea bitterness sweetened with some herbal honey. The age is very prevalent with young grain forward notes.
Astringent finish however not as bad as other single barrels I’ve tasted. Dark cocoa powder, tobacco, and leather. Sugared dates. Over-toasted, nearly burnt, spices of nutmeg, peppercorn, and a touch of anise. A flavor like the burnt ear on a loaf of bread. Expectedly dry finish with a ton of oak and cereal grains coming through.
I have some experience with Old Forester picks, having helped with one myself. I must say it felt like I was picking the best barrel among the worst samples. The good thing is the bottled product turned out better than the samples sent.
There’s a flavorful spirit hiding under the oak but you just cannot taste it at this age and proof. The hint of fruit is exciting albeit overpowered by tannic oak and burnt flavors. Water helps nudge those fruits to come out but it’s not nearly enough to warrant the nearly $100 price tag.