Tasting Notes: Calumet Farms 14-Year Bourbon


Calumet Farms is a non-distiller producer owned by Western Spirits Beverage Company (Bird Dog Whiskey, Sam Houston Bourbon) and is the namesake of the celebrated thoroughbred horse racing farm originally founded by William Monroe Wright in 1924 in Lexington, Kentucky. Their sourced straight bourbon originally debuted in 2013 and the company now offers a range of age-stated bourbon, including an 8, 10, and 12-year. Recently, the company announced they would be releasing a 14-year bourbon, their oldest product to date.

This bourbon is made from a mash of 74% corn, 18% rye, and 8% malted barley that was originally barreled in March 2006. It is sourced from an unknown distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky and is produced in small batches of only 19 barrels. It is non-chill filtered and bottled at 96.2 proof (48.1% abv). The retail price for this bottle is just north of $100.


Tasting:

Appearance – Orange amber.

Nose – In the glass, I initially found dominant notes of dry oak and a touch of hay. However, in short time the nose really opens up and becomes quite rich and smooth. It is full of sweet cherry, vanilla, and some orange peel, along with some dryer notes of leather and oak. Overall, it is quite well-balanced and enjoyable.

Palate – This whiskey has an above-average viscosity, providing a nice coating with the first sip. It is initially rich, with lots of vanilla, chewy caramel, and some toasted corn, but it becomes slightly dry and tannic with a quick burst of spice mid-tongue. I was also impressed with the complete lack of burn present in this 96.2 proof bourbon.

Finish – The finish is medium-long and relatively dry. The spice lingers, along with more vanilla, nutmeg, some dried fruit notes, more orange peel, and oak, with the tannins really developing and emphasizing the sharp rye spice mid-tongue.

Overall – The flavors that are present in this bourbon, while familiar, are generally well-developed and blend together nicely. I believe balance is an important trait in a bourbon and this bottle initially achieves a nice balance of flavor. I also enjoyed how the nose opened up quite quickly and I was impressed with the mouthfeel from the first sip. However, as I worked through the sip the word “average” kept coming to mind. In my opinion, the overall profile felt somewhat basic and I found myself looking for more with each sip, especially for a 14-year bourbon that comes with a $100+ price tag. I just wasn’t able to find the depth and complexity of flavor I was hoping for. I also think that the extra time in oak did not add to this distillate, as the oak was quite heavy throughout and tannins stifled the finish. This is definitely a beautiful bottle that I will revisit in the near future to see if anything changes with time.

Cheers y’all!

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