FEW Bourbon – BBS barrel pick

I’m relatively new to bourbon. I used to hate the stuff. I once told Drew Mayville that George T. Stagg was like licking a log flume. I tried. Tom tried, too. He made me try all sorts, but I just didn’t get it. Then, one night, I happened to (after a couple of opening, single malt drams) pour a glass of Wild Turkey 101 (which, incidentally, I’d tried before and didn’t like) and I loved it. Very much like, when you’re a child, and you can’t stand the taste of _________ (insert numerous ‘adult’ foodstuffs here). Then, out of nowhere, you suddenly love it, and it’s all you want to eat. That’s pretty much how my love (yes, I actually think it’s reached that stage now!) began. I’d give anything to try that Stagg again. I’m planning American holidays, so I can bring back bourbon. I have the bug. Big time.

A few months ago, I joined the British Bourbon Society Facebook group. Unfortunately, this was just too late to join in on the excitement of their first barrel pick, a 64.4% abv single barrel from Chicago distillery, FEW. I’ve had to sit back and watch the steady stream of Facebook pictures, members singing its praises, dead bottles of it (already!) So, imagine my delight when a small batch of samples were released on Master of Malt, and I finally had the chance to find out what all the fuss was about:


Nose: Initially, there was a rich, molasses smell, then dates and sticky toffee pudding. A few minutes after pouring, this lightened somewhat, and was replaced with a really sweet caramel, like dulche de leche and a slight hint of oak. Amazing.

Palate: Not as sweet as the nose. Hot, dark chocolate, burnt caramel, pecan nuts and a very short note of espresso, there for a split second.

Finish: Long. Very long. I can still feel the heat some ten minutes later. Nutty dark chocolate.

One of the most interesting bourbons I’ve tasted so far, on my very limited journey of bourbon discovery. A truly mystical nose, with a contrasting, yet intriguing palate. Definitely a dram suited to the current time of year. Is winter bourbon a thing?

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