Neeley Family Distillery
“Good Ryes Finish Last”
Master Distiller Experiment Series #1
8 Year Air Seasoned Barrel
Single Barrel – Barrel Strength
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
I’ve been a big fan of Neeley Family Distillery bourbon ever since our first visit almost 2 years ago. At that time, their bourbon was just starting to reach maturity. While it was still a young bourbon, the flavors were excellent and it didn’t suffer from any of the characteristics I had found in some of other younger bourbons. You can see a video and read about Neeley Family Distillery on BourbonObsessed.com, but for now, let’s look at this unique bourbon.
8 Year Air Seasoned Barrel
What makes this bourbon unique? Well, quite a bit. The most striking feature is that it is aged in a barrel made from wood which was seasoned for 8 years! “Seasoned?” you may ask; what does that mean? Salt and pepper to taste? Well, not exactly. The term “seasoned” refers to the aging of the wood prior to constructing a barrel. The wood is left out in the elements for a number of “seasons” allowing the degradation of certain unfavorable compounds and the creation of other favorable ones. The industry standard is around 6 months. Some of the premium brands will season their wood 1 1/2 years, or more for special releases. But 8 years?! This was a first for me, so I had to brave the cold and ice and make my way up to Neeley Family Distillery to get a bottle! Not that I really need an excuse – they’re a great bunch of people and a lot of fun to visit!
Mash Bill & Specifications
67% corn, 25% rye, 8% malted barley
24 months in a char level 2, 8 year air seasoned barrel
Let’s taste it:
🛏 Rested for 20 minutes in a Glencairn
👉🏻Nose: Raisin bread, cherries, butter, caramel, rye spices & moderate alcohol
👉🏻Taste: Rich chocolate – subtle but present – up front. Then a rich brown sugar sweetness whipped into a raisin bread – cornbread combo with a full mouthfeel.
👉🏻Finish: The same rich flavors continue into the finish and pick up some oak and light char; There’s really no dryness, presumably because of the loss of the tannins over 8 years and the char level of 2.
This is just a delicious bourbon. Full rich flavors in a buttered raisin bread brown sugar treat! It of course would be very interesting to try the exact same distillate aged an equivalent amount of time in a more conventionally aged barrel to truly know the contribution of the extra-long seasoning. I think that has probably contributed to a “smoother” richer flavor with less dryness than there commonly is in the finish. The low char level (#2) probably plays a part in that as well. Either way, I am really enjoying this innovative bourbon! Have you had Neeley Family Distillery‘s bourbon? What did you think? Cheers!🥃
Want to see learn more about Neeley Family Distillery? Check out our video tour of Neeley Family Distillery!
Are you interested in learning more about individual distilleries? Do you need information to help you plan your own distillery visits? If so, we can help. At BourbonObsessed.com we have an interactive map of ALL of the Kentucky distilleries, as well as useful information for planning your visits. Check us out today!