By Richard Thomas
With it’s booming craft whiskey scene, Colorado is one of those states in contention to become America’s No. 3 whiskey state (after Kentucky and Tennessee), in the running with Texas and New York. Among the Centennial State’s competitive outfits is Colorado Gold Distillery, and they have a corn whiskey, a rye and a bourbon.
This straight, single barrel bourbon is a follow-up on their earlier bourbon release, being a bit stronger (90 instead of 80 proof), about a year older, and sporting new attractive new labeling. Just think about this phrasing—“three year old, single barrel bourbon drawn from traditional 53 gallon, 3+ char barrels”—and how different that is from the bulk of craft sector bourbons. Yes, it’s on the young side, but it’s big barrel and Colorado Gold is clearly confident enough in what comes out of their wood to let it stand alone, and not batch and blend it.
Both in the bottle and in the glass, Colorado Gold’s bourbon has the light amber look of polished copper, akin to the somewhat older mass market bourbons such as Jim Beam and Evan Williams (both of which are lower proof).
The nose if floral and aromatic, delivering corn sweetness with a slice of orange and a dollop of vanilla stirred in, with a faint trace of oak. The flavor was in solid bourbon territory, sweet plus caramel, with an oaky note that was more than I expected from what is a young, big barrel whiskey. The sweetness comes first, a crisp flavor that hints of strawberries, before turning to the wood. The mouthfeel for this was on the light-but-oily side, offering just a bit of texture.
The finish brought a caramel aftertaste to follow on the woody emphasis at the end of the palate experience, then goes spicy and warm for a few minutes.
I was divided on whether to give this bourbon a B- or C+ for a time, and ultimately went with C+. More sophisticated than what I would expect from what is fundamentally a young bourbon, it is still very well made, so much so that I am very keen to see where Colorado Gold’s bourbon will be when it goes from being three years old to five years old.
Looking through the online retailers that carry the Colorado Gold Straight Single Barrel Bourbon reveals pricing between $45 and $50.