By Debbie Shocair
In Yellow Rose Distilling’s Premium Collection #1 Bourbon, the first in a new series, the distillery and bottler is pursuing a well-trod path in adding craft and value to a product: get good stock and finish it in good casks. I may have spent the last decade or so soaking up the California sun, but my roots run deep in Texas, and I was eager to try this second expression from Yellow Rose.
The craft whiskey movement has become a kind of freedom badge in America, allowing large and small distillers alike to be creative, combining methods and flavoring agents that (hopefully) can improve upon what is already good whiskey. Houston Farris, of Yellow Rose Distilling, obviously takes this prerogative to heart, stating, “As a craft distiller, we have the freedom to tweak variables, from what types of malted barley we mash to the barrels we mature the whiskey in, even choosing to add another barrel type to finish the matured whiskey. It will be a lot of fun trying new ways to make a better product with each run.”
This Premium Collection #1 from YR takes their bourbon, already matured 5-6 years in standard 53 gallon barrels, then finishes it in used Port casks for a further 3 to 5 months. Bottled at 86 proof YR then “slap on the Yellow Rose label, modeled after a true Texas belt buckle.”
On the nose, this Premium Collection Bourbon first put forth light notes of vanilla, followed by unusual salty caramel aromas and hay. Very different, interesting, and enjoyable.
Breaking it with ½ teaspoon of water brought the caramel right to the front and strengthened the vanilla notes.
The mouthfeel began at the top of the tongue and then moved under it as well.
The relatively long finish was spicier than I expected from a port-finished bourbon, progressing to coffee, cinnamon, and licorice. But it wasn’t done. Dark caramel flavors then surfaced, along with toffee and whispers of smokiness. For those who enjoy a whiskey “bite”, this one was right on target without any harshness.
Yellow Rose products are currently available in 20 states and online as well. This Bourbon – Premium Collection #1 runs about $68 and is the sort of traditional sipping whiskey for sharing with friends, and also treating yourself. This Texas girl approves.