By Jake Emen
Yellow Rose Distilling in Houston, Texas has been in the micro-distilling scene since 2010. The distillery is named for the story of Emily West, or Emily Morgan, who became known as the legendary Yellow Rose. Legend has it that she seduced Mexican President/General Santa Anna, helping Texan General Sam Houston storm right on through Mexican forces the following morning in the 1836 battle of San Jacinto.
Yellow Rose produces a bourbon-focused lineup of whiskeys, all made with their own special Texas touch. Their Outlaw Bourbon has already made a name for itself, but what about the Double Barrel Bourbon, with its implications of shotgun-like heft?
Double Barrel Bourbon, bottled at 43% ABV (86 proof), is one of the newer whiskeys in Yellow Rose’s portfolio, and as such, I was able to enjoy a hand-labeled bottle from Batch No. 1.
It’s named in homage of the shotgun, surely, but also for the way it’s made. Like all bourbons, it begins in new charred American oak barrels. However, Yellow Rose then finishes the bourbon in a Cabernet wine barrel. As the label touts: “While the first barrel may be on target, the second provides a necessary finish.”
That wine finish is displayed in the glass with a deep, tainted brown color. On the nose, you’ll notice traces of maple-vanilla sweetness matched with the fruity tones also provided from the Cabernet.
On your first sip, you’ll notice a heavy but velvety mouthfeel with a hearty sweetness and fruity profile – imagine a bite of pancake or French toast topped with macerated fruit and soaked with maple syrup and you’ll be close. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not too sweet, there’s still just enough bite there to keep Double Barrel from veering too far in that direction. The finish is short, sweet and sharp, but without burn.
With ice, Double Barrel becomes a bit chewier and drier, with a new taste profile dominated not by sweetness or fruit, but corn, the essence of the bourbon itself.
Double Barrel is a unique offering to the bevy of bourbons which have emerged over the past few years, and if you’re looking for something fresh and new, which expands the boundaries of what you’re expecting in this class, it definitely fits that bill.
Yellow Rose Distilling’s products aren’t yet widely available via retail, with current distribution limited to Texas, Tennessee, Maryland and Illinois. Double Barrel Bourbon is available at several online stores, however, at about $40 for a 750 ml bottle. At almost half the price of Yellow Rose’s Outlaw Bourbon, it’s a relative bargain even if it doesn’t quite hit the same high marks.