Whiskey Name: Old Charter 12 year old
Distillery: Buffalo Trace. Though it was called George T. Stagg at the time of distillation
Whiskey Type: Straight bourbon
Release Date: General release at the time.
Price: Would depend on your luck at auction
Age: 12 years
Introduction/Background: A good old boy from back in the days when so few people were drinking bourbon. Admittedly I also wasn’t drinking bourbon back then, but my mitigating circumstance is that I was (probably) less than 10 when this was bottled. (Excuses, excuses).
This comes courtesy of BBS co-founding father TheBourbonator. When I was doing my homework he described the following link as the best source of info he’s found on the juice. So you get some quality instead of just listening to my standard pre-ambling nonsense. https://www.straightbourbon.com/community/topic/1094-old-charter-classic-90-mark-brown-replies/
So old-ish school Trace kit with a decent age statement. Think that’ll do.
Nose: Mmmmm. Deep caramel, toffee, nutmeg and nuts. Just such a satisfying nose. Simultaneously elegant and choc-full of character. No boozy burn whatsoever, just confident, classic bourbon aromas. Fruit in peach and passionfruit form. The wood is prominent without overwhelming; there has to be some old stock in this. Cracking vatting work.
Mouth: Again, it’s a roll-call of the great bourbon notes. It follows the nose unbelievably closely, in fact. Beautiful balance of the sweet caramel and milk chocolate with the chunkier nutmeg and cinnamon. Ripe, round texture and bags of flavour for the proof.
Finish: Rye takes the reins; spicy pepper fizzes up beside dry macadamias and popcorn.
Value for Money: Depressingly amazing at the time of bottling.
Summary: Without doing anything flashy, this bourbon just reminds you of how lucky bourbon fans were in the standard issue bottlings that gathered dust on shelves 20 years ago.
The sort of thing you can only make if your library of aged stock is seriously, seriously impressive. The difference, basically, between craft distillers and the really big players.
There are bourbons as good as this about today, don’t get me wrong. But not for the same price. Not for just one note. A beautiful taste of what once was.
Overall Verdict: A delicious, nostalgic look back with which to bring the year to a close.
Thanks very much to TheBourbonator for the sample!