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Stellum Bourbon finds its flavor in the tension of three Indiana Bourbon mash bills, two of which are high-rye, with the third being almost exclusively corn. Older barrels from both Kentucky and Tennessee are folded in slowly, through a multi-step blending process. This brings added layers of depth and complexity, ultimately allowing us to round out a uniquely Stellum flavor profile.
Appearance: Amber gold.
Nose: Intense clove and allspice immediately jump out of the glass, supported by creamy macadamia nuts and light tobacco. As the whiskey opens up, sweet aromas of honeysuckle, green apple, and nectarine begin to show, rounded off by toasted rye and oak.
Palate: The tip of your tongue is met with a hint of vanilla, marshmallow, and cotton candy. The whiskey quickly transforms as it spreads across your tongue, revealing spicy notes of black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon baked apples. The spice is supported by tart underripe blackberry and apricot that contrasts perfectly against the initial sweetness.
Finish: The spiciness of the palate carries over into the finish with candied ginger and more black pepper before slowly fading into a syrupy sweet honey.
With the Addition of Water: The strong pepper notes are more subdued, allowing for sweet cinnamon streusel and stewed apples to come to the forefront of the palate.
One of my favorite things about this bourbon is the complexity of flavors from start to finish. When I took the first sip, I thought that it was going to only be a sweet whiskey due to the marshmallow and cotton candy notes. As the whiskey rolled across my tongue, the spice kick came out of nowhere, and took the flavor in a completely different direction with cinnamon and black pepper. As I continued to nose and sip the whiskey, an even greater variety of flavors began to appear, which made this a fun and very enjoyable experience. While it is a bold and complex cask strength whiskey, it is not overwhelmingly hot in any way. It carries a pepper-like punch, which I think would pair perfectly with a rich chocolate dessert given that it could cut through the sweetness.
The tart green apple on the nose, cinnamon brown sugar on the palate, and the ginger on the finish all remind me of a delicious Dutch apple pie. Sweet, spicy, tart, and something you want to go back to for a second helping.