In 2015, Luxco and the folks behind the brand new Limestone Branch distillery launched their brand with a limited edition version of the historic Yellowstone whiskey. It was well received but the general consensus was that it missed the mark, slightly, when it came to the price point. In 2016 they followed it up with another limited Yellowstone release, with a different blend of whiskies, and to most this one hit the sweet spot.
Yellowstone 2016 LE is comprised of a blend featuring two extra aged rye’s, “a stately 12-year and a bold 7-year.” These were hand selected by brand president Steve Beam and then further aged & finished in toasted wine barrels.
“We used 28 new wine barrels with varying levels of toast – I was interested in how toasting versus charring would contribute to the bourbon,” says Steve Beam, president and distiller of Limestone Branch Distillery. “The result was a delightful nose that is full of vanilla, sweet tea and summer fruit with a hint of smoke.”
Let’s see if my palate lined up with theirs. Here’s my notes on it:
Nose: Big hit of spice from the rye, pepper, cayenne, but the vanilla does shine through as it opens up with some air, and you get an almost sweet mash scent like you would at a distillery.
Taste: Wheat and toast forward, similar cereal grains to Michter’s Toasted Oak, kettle corn, the rye spice comes out towards the middle but not overpowering, before beginning to fade into the softer and more subtle wine and red fruit notes.
Finish: Sweet on the finish, spice cake, more toasted wheat and oak, an almost minty zest comes out as well. Very refreshing overall and not so dry for a 101 proof rye.
Man I’m really starting to enjoy more folks venturing into toasted barrel finished whiskies, it imparts some delightful mellowing to the end product and brings out many softer notes that I think would be otherwise overpowered, especially in a blend of rye’s.
Yellowstone 2016 Limited Edition absolutely hits the nail on the head, both on value for your money, and what an experimental and limited release should be. If you’re a fan of Michter’s Toasted Oak, Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Edition, or softer rye’s this is a definite must buy. It’s very drinkable, not overly complex for being both a blend and a finished whiskey, and is something you’ll want to savor and sip on those warm summer days.
Despite the limited nature, about 7,000 bottles were released into the wild in October of 2016 and I still see them on shelves now and again. Yellowstone Limited Edition 2016 from Limestone Branch and Luxco will run you about $99.99 at retail and it comes in at a respectable 101 proof [50.5% ABV.] I really hope the brand continues releasing these limited edition variants each year, I think they’re on the right track.
Limestone Branch Distillery
1280 Veterans Memorial Hwy
Lebanon, KY 40033