By Richard Thomas
Here are The Whiskey Reviewer, when someone wants to offer a second opinion on a previously reviewed product, we amend the existing review rather than publish a second, new article. Unfortunately, some of our early writers weren’t what they should have been, and it is sometimes necessary to scrap that first look altogether. Such was the case with Yellow Rose Outlaw Bourbon, as the first 2013 look was so at odds with what I found when I sampled this myself that trashing the original was the only option. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and everyone has a palate all their own, but some leave you scratching your head and wondering “what, is that guy’s tongue made out of sandpaper?”
Texas’s Yellow Rose Distillery does a mixture of in-house and sourced whiskeys, with their OUtlaw Bourbon being an example of an entirely in-house product. It is made of 100% corn, distilled in a pot still, and aged in small barrels for “over six months” before bottling at 92 proof (46% ABV). So, it is interesting on paper as what is essentially a pot-distilled, aged corn whiskey.
In practice, it exemplifies what so many croakers meant a few years back when they barked “all craft whiskey sucks!” The look of it in the bottle and glass are fine. Like all small barrel bourbons, the whiskey has absorbed plenty of color from maturing in a vessel that upends the volume-to-surface area ratio of the standard 53-gallon barrel. The nose is fine too, smacking of candy corn and vanilla, and solidly within bourbon territory.
The flavor is where things start to go awry. The base is corn sweet and seasoned with vanilla, just as I would expect, but with strong currents of coal smoke and a pine resin astringency. This whiskey also had a rather unpleasant tendency to give me a mild hangover the next day after just one shot’s worth, and that effect even carried over when I cooked with it.
In terms of flavor, it’s somewhat above cheap bourbon territory. In all other respects, that is where Outlaw belongs. Except, as we see below, the price tag is anything but cheap.
Between $65 and $70 a bottle.