- Spirit: Straight Bourbon, Single Barrel, Casks Strength
- Owned By: B.R Distilling
- Distilled By: Undisclosed Kentucky Distillery (Green River Distillery)
- Aged: 3+ Years
- Proof: 116.5, 58.25% ABV
- Mashbill: 70% corn, 21% rye, 9% malted barley
- Price: $55
Over a year ago, I reviewed Blue Note Juke Joint Bourbon, and I really liked it. To this day, I recommend Blue Note Juke Joint to people looking for a good ~$30 bottle of whiskey. I have my suspicions that the single barrel version of Juke Joint – Uncut – will be even better.
I’m reviewing barrel # 18904 which was hand selected by Total Wine.
Single Barrel Whiskey
Each barrel of whiskey is different. Even when you have the same mashbill, same distillery, same batch, whiskey that is aged in separate barrels will turn out a bit different.
When your typical whiskey is produced, tens, hundreds, or even thousands of barrels are blended together to create a consistent profile. This is why Jack Daniel’s, Maker’s Mark, Buffalo Trace, etc all taste the same every time you buy it.
Small batch whiskey may only take a couple barrels of whiskey to blend together. Distillers are able to pick out certain qualities from individual barrels to blend together. They have more control over the whiskeys intended flavor and can pick out higher quality barrels.
Single barrel whiskey is exactly what it sounds like. All of the whiskey inside this bottle comes from one barrel. Single barrels are usually selected for their superior quality, and sometimes for their unique profile in comparison to other barrels.
Furthermore, many single barrel selections, including this one, are barrel strength, or uncut. No water is added after the aging process to cut, or proof, the whiskey down.
Not only must we account for individual differences in our perceptions such as taste, smell, and touch, we must remember that my bottle is from barrel #18904. If you’re drinking Blue Note Juke Joint Uncut, or want to buy a bottle, it’s likely that you’ll end up with a different barrel than me.
Nose: Lots of lemon and oak sitting on the nose, burnt wood and brown sugar, toffee, some rosemary, pepper, and rye spice.
Palate: Thick and oily. Toffee upfront with lots of burnt oak and pepper. Darker cherry starts to show up for a brief second before a strong finish comes in. The toffee is nice up front, the mouthfeel is beautiful, but then some stronger spice and alcohol takes over.
Finish: The back end of the palate and into the finish is where this bottles 116.5 proof really show up, along with the rye content. You get a little alcohol burn, as is natural with ~120 proof, but a lot of mint, some cinnamon and pepper, and toffee show up. Barrel char and some burnt sugars sit around for a long finish.
Taste Summary – Is It Good?
Yes, yes it is. I think I liked the flavor profile of their standard Juke Joint expression, it was a little more desserty. Lemon pie, brown sugar, baking spices, etc. While this barrel had lemon and brown sugar, it was overshadowed with a burnt oak and leather.
This barrel is a much more tradition bourbon profile, just turned up a notch. Of course with the proof, but some of the rye spice as well.
Add a smidgen of water and this becomes a really, really good bourbon. Perhaps that’s’ just me as my ideal proof is 94ish-108ish. However, a touch of water dialed back a bit of the alcohol, dialed back the burnt notes, and lessened some of the pepper.
Now, if a smidgen of water took all of that away, how is it better? First, those flavors are still there, just dialed back. Second, it allows other flavors such as lemon, brown sugar, cherry, and toffee to stand out more.
Just a small amount of water allows the mouth feel and viscosity to stay within an ideal range.
Blue Note Juke Joint is a good bottle of whiskey, it’s no surprise that the Uncut expression is also delicious. Of course, the Uncut is going to be the way to go for those that like strong, deep whiskey and don’t mind 120 proof.
If you have zero interest in drinking whiskey this strong, opt for the standard Juke Joint.
B.R Distilling, the producers of Blue Note, source their whiskey from Green River Distilling. It may be time to try some of their whiskey next.