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.

Neeley Family Distillery Bourbon - Eight Year Seasoned Barrel
Neeley Family Distillery Bourbon – Eight Year Seasoned Barrel
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
107.4 proof
24 months in a char level 2, 8 year air seasoned barrel

Tasting Notes

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.

Summary

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!

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