Smoke Wagon 8-Year-Old Single Barrel
UNIQUE, DELICATE YET BOLDLY COMPLEX
This high rye content bourbon is aged in the heart of a century old warehouse. Barrels are hand selected in small numbers to create a perfect blend that is silky, creamy and at the same time bold and intense. Released in 2016, our goal was to create a unique great tasting high rye content bourbon. The problem is that rye ages much faster than corn.
So while our younger vintages had a big rye spice flavor (which we love) the mouth feel was too thin and it lacked the sweet, delicate complexity of a well aged spirit. Our older vintages had the silkiness and sweet notes that can only be achieved by moving in and out of #4 char and caramelized oak for many years, but the nice rye spice complexity had been aged out!
Smoke Wagon Bourbon was founded by Aaron Chepenik and Jonathan Hensleigh in 2012 as part of Nevada H&C Distilling Co. They source their bourbon from Midwest Grain Products of Indiana (MGPI) using MGPI’s 36% high rye bourbon mashbill. Chepenik developed Smoke Wagon’s mashbill and brand flavor profile using MGPI’s bourbon
Background: My first review ever on r/bourbon was for a Smoke Wagon Private Barrel selected by Chip’s Liquor and aged 7 years 7 months. It was stellar. Got lucky enough to get this 8 year at retail. Have been impressed by what I’ve seen from these guys and what they can do with MGP. I’m not happy about spending $150, but it seems like this is the going MSRP rate for good MGP these days.
Cost: $130 + $20 of shipping = $150
Nose: Lots of sweet red fruits; raspberry, strawberry, hint of cinnamon, some cherry. An herbal essence that lets you know this is MGP juice. I can’t stop thinking of Big Red chewing gum and red vine licorice. There is also a sort of unique earthy/mossy note that I get on the back end of the nose. Not sure I’ve gotten that before on an MGP Smoke Wagon 8 Year-Old Single Barrel .
Palate: More spice here and more red vines. Brown sugar, Nice and oily and sorta dries out the mouth, but not unpleasant. Raspberry jam tang.
Finish: Vanilla, spice, more oak than expected. Herbal notes reappear here as well.
Conclusion: A fruit forward jammy bourbon accompanied with a good amount of baking spices and surprising amount of oak given the age statement. I really dug the red vine licorice note and found it pretty unique. The finish was a little more tannic than I would like, but I’m being nit picky here.