After the success of their first special finish line bourbon—which was aged in Sherry casks and released around two years ago—the Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery knew they wanted to continue with the project and began experimenting with more types of barrels. Eventually, they settled on Cognac barrels and, as of July 2016, you can reap the fruits of their labor with a bourbon that will appeal to bourbon, cognac, and scotch lovers alike.
Cut to 90.4-proof and non-chill filtered, the final product is a mix of six and nine-year-old high rye content (around thirty percent) bourbon that is then finished for two-to-four months in French Limousin Oak that previously contained a premiere Fine Champagne XO Cognac over the course of its twelve-year aging process.
“The six-year-old barrels enhanced the spicier aspects of the bourbon and the nine-year-old barrels enhanced the smoother, sweeter, softer side that’s brought to the front by the cognac,” said Andy Nelson, one of the proprietors of Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery.
Related: A Brief History of Bourbon
The nose is a fine mix between cognac and bourbon—with a woody dryness from the French Oak that isn’t necessarily there with American Oak-aged bourbons. The palate, too, might seem a little different to bourbon drinkers, but it is something that’s easy to acclimate to. Vanilla and caramel mix with, again, a slightly drier mouthfeel than a typical bourbon (again, that French Oak coming through in nice ways).
If you like Scotch, this flavor profile will be familiar to you. There’s a little bit of orange near the end, which terminates in a medium-long finish where you’re going to get some of the spice you had on the nose again.
The follow-up to Belle Meade Bourbon Cognac Cask Finish in the special finish line, according to Nelson, will be their bourbon finished in Madeira casks.
The limited release Cognac Cask Finish retails for $74.99.