About – Release No. 2 of Sam Houston 12 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was curated under the watchful eyes of Steve Nally, John Hargrove and the team at Bardstown Bourbon Company. The bourbon was aged for a minimum of 12 years and was held to the highest scrutiny for quality, flavor and complexity. Each barrel was hand-chosen, and the current release has been crafted in extremely small batches, using only 3 barrels at a time. Each bottle is individually hand-labeled with specific aging notes and numbered. This bourbon is released in state specific batches. This review is for the Tennessee batch. The mashbill is 74% corn, 18% rye, and 8% malted barley, the youngest barrel used in this batch was aged 12 years and 10 months in #4 char barrels. Sam Houston is bottled at 98 proof and retails for $100.
Nose – This bourbon has a really interesting sweet nutty aroma, a faint touch of banana almost like a banana nut bread. Picked up some caramel on the back while tasting. On the rocks the aromas are much more floral and caramel based with some peanut butter dancing in and out.
Palate – The first thing I notice is a good amount of oak, but not in an overpowering way. A huge blast of cinnamon makes it feel a little hotter than the proof would indicate, there is some cherry to be found when digging in a little deeper. On the rocks this one is much sweeter with the oak stepping up as well with a touch of orange peel. The finish is short and clean with apple and clove.
Score – B+
Verdict – Color me pleasantly surprised. At first I was going to give this a B, but the more time I spent with it the more it grew on me. I have heard some negative comments around mostly concerned with the value you get for the price, and I have to say I disagree with those comments. There is nothing life changing going on here, but it is a damned solid bourbon, and one that I feel is fairly priced in today’s market. Sam Houston would be proud to be featured on this bottle. As a final note it has no effect on my scoring, but I am really a fan of the label design on this bottle, and the hand numbering adds a nice touch.