15 STARS First West Bourbon Review

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15 Stars First West Bourbon is a blend of bourbons aged 15, 9, and 7 years, distilled in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee, and bottled at 106 proof. It is complex, with notes of sweet fruits, rye spices, toffee, and dry oak. While it has more rye spices than some of 15 Stars' other bourbons, it's not overwhelming, and the classic bourbon flavors are still present. Read all about it in our review!
First West
Fine Aged Bourbon
106 Proof
MSRP: $139

Please enjoy our 15 STARS First West Bourbon Review!

A Blend of Straight Bourbon Whiskeys from America’s First West aged 15, 9, and 7 years.

15 STARS, started by father and son Rick and Ricky Johnson, debuted their first bourbon around two years ago. Starting with their inaugural release, I have really enjoyed everything they have produced. Their latest releases are First West Bourbon, the subject of this review, and 8&15 Private Stock Bourbon, which I have reviewed separately.

15 STARS First West Series

Around a year ago, 15 STARS released the initial whiskey in their First West series, First West Rye. It’s a delicious rye, and has received multiple awards. I had previously reviewed it, as well. You may now be wondering, what is meant by “First West”? Well, 15 STARS is a brand that celebrates Kentucky’s history, and they explain the term as follows: “Kentucky, in 1795, was the center of America’s First West. As the first state west of the Appalachians, it was surrounded by the then existing Northwest and Southwest Territories of the United States. Our First West Series of whiskeys celebrates distilling in America’s “First West” by incorporating whiskeys from Kentucky with those from the old NW and SW territories.

A Blend of Bourbons

15 STARS First West Bourbon is a blend of bourbons aged 15, 9 & 7 years. The component whiskeys were distilled in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee. Unfortunately, mash bills are not provided. It is bottled at 106 proof.

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Tasting Notes – 15 STARS First West Bourbon Review

Let’s taste it:

🛏 Rested for 15 minutes in a Glencairn

👉🏻Nose: Soft sweet apples and pears, but also dark stone fruits, like sweet dark cherries and plums; rye spices; subtle cinnamon graham cracker; hint of dry oak and very light smoke; mild brown sugar sweetness; alcohol appropriate for the proof; after a sip, some toffee becomes noticeable, too
👉🏻Taste: Dark cherry; caramel; brown sugar sweetness; toffee; some tannins, rye spices and mild char, too
👉🏻Finish: Black pepper spice rises and gradually diminishes; dryness increases as time goes on, with tannins, lingering mild dry oak and barrel char; long finish with a pleasant warmth

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A Complex Bourbon

There’s a lot going on with this bourbon! To begin with, in the nose, many different fruits are up front, including sweet apples, pears, cherries and dark plums. Some rye spices and brown sugar also add to the flavors. Interestingly, after a few sips, the fruits suppress somewhat and toffee and brown sugar increase. In the background, I am reminded of cinnamon graham crackers, providing a bit of a warm bakery feeling, too. Yet, there is also some contrast from light smoke and dry oak.

The taste continues along a similar path, although the fruit turns predominantly to cherries, and there’s more dark caramel, toffee and brown sugar. Yet, again, there are a bit of added tannins creating complexity. Finally, black pepper is dominant going into the finish, landing right in the middle of my tongue. As it gradually diminishes, there are some dryer notes from tannins, dry oak and mild barrel char, that linger for a long time. I am left with a pleasant warmth as I get ready to take my next sip.

Bottle & Glencairn Glass - 15 STARS First West Bourbon Review
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15 STARS First West Bourbon is another delicious whiskey from Rick and Ricky. It has a bit more rye spices throughout than many of their other bourbons, but not to an overbearing degree. Nonetheless, the classic bourbon flavors are all there. All in all, this is a bourbon that one can meticulously dissect to define each of the flavors (I may be guilty of that), or just simply enjoy for its complexity. Either way, it is a delicious pour.

Have you tried 15 STARS First West Bourbon? What did you think? Cheers!🥃

We hope you have enjoyed our 15 STARS First West Bourbon review! Would you like to read about other 15 STARS bourbons? Then check out our 15 Stars 7 & 15 Year Bourbon Review and our 15 STARS Kentucky Stars Bourbon Review.

Thank you to 15 STARS for generously providing this bourbon for my review!

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