A few bottlers recently released a Tennessee bourbon, matured in the US but apparently bottled in Scotland. Although their ages are far apart, I think we can assume they’re from the same producer?
We’ll start with the NAS release from Eiling Lim. Note that her label says Tennessee whisky without an ‘e’. This should give us a clue about the distillery. It is a sour mash bourbon, distilled and charcoal mellowed at one of the oldest Tennessee distilleries. That gives us enough clues to decide between Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel, right?
We’ll compare it to a 5 yo ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ bottled by Whisky-Fässle and a considerably older 13 yo ‘Tennessee Bourbon’ from The Whisky Agency that you can probably discover at The Whisky Fair in Limburg.
Tennessee whisky (51,5%, Eiling Lim 2016, not so many bottles)
Nose: nice honey and oranges at first, with bright spearmint. Nicely fat, syrupy notes, then also hints of bread. Lots of vanilla marshmallows. Cherries and sultanas. Certainly the smoothest of the trio. After a while there’s also a highly refreshing citrusy side, say lemon pie.
Mouth: sweet, with some fruity notes before it goes towards more wood (pencil shavings) and Seville oranges. Dark cocoa powder. Ginger. Hints of eucalyptus tea as well. Deeply charred wood.
Finish: fairly long, with bittersweet notes, mint and some charred touches.
The citrusy freshness on the nose is excellent. There’s more typical bourbonny oak on the palate but it’s still the smoothest of the three. Around € 95.
Fine Tennessee whiskey 5 yo 2011 (51,4%, Whisky-Fässle 2016, barrel)
Nose: it feels older already. More oak-driven, with more nutmeg and ginger. The vanilla and orange cake are still present. Also hints of dried coconut. Even more of the lemon / orange pastry freshness, which is lovely, but there’s also a heavier, almost meaty side to it.
Mouth: similar as the Eiling Lim release. Mostly oaky notes now, mint, eucalyptus, char. A little more of these oranges as well. Cinnamon-infused chocolate.
Both are very similar, there probably isn’t much difference in age. Again a nice whiskey, lots of oaky punch but the citrusy freshness on the nose is great. Around € 80.
Tennessee bourbon 13 yo 2003
(52,6%, The Whisky Agency ‘Art Nouveau Ladies’ 2017, barrel)
Nose: much more caramel aromas now, with waxed furniture. The polished aspect of oak, rather than the spicy, plankish notes. Very round. Sweet corn. Coconut cream, hints of Mexican chocolate. The most liqueur-like of the three. Almonds and pecans, almost sherried in a way.
Mouth: very much on the coconut flakes again. Hints of pomegranates, then the eucalyptus and herbal tea. Cloves. Somehow smoother than you’d expect from a 13 years old bourbon.
Finish: long, on polished oak, char and spices.
Rather different of course. I expected more oak, but that’s not really the case. It’s just a creamier profile with more chocolate and furniture polish.