Wathen’s Barrel Proof "Barrel #69 San Francisco" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel Straight Kentucky Bourbon (750ml) SKU #1394930

Price: $79.99

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Tasting Notes

The exceptional Wathen's Barrel Proof is finally back, this time in a slightly stronger form. The 2017 offering was drawn from a small batch of just 25 barrels that had been filled at lower than normal proof. This years is filled at the Wathen's traditional entry proof of 117 proof and was offered to just a handful of accounts across the country. We're great fans and friends with the wonderful Medley family and we're grateful to receive a barrel in each of the NorCal and SoCal markets. Last year's barrels sold out instantly and the flavor profile on those was pretty darn wacky. The lower entry proof offers a completely different maturation experience. These two casks will provide a much more classic bourbon experience than last year's offering, but still exhibits some very unique and exceptionally complexity. The Medley's have one of the most interesting and unusual whisky productions in Kentucky. They're contractually obligated to obfuscate the source of this bourbon, but since Charles takes over completely for their distillation period it doesn't matter as much as most non-distiller producers. He's had decades of experience distilling and has very strong opinions about what makes great bourbon. If you've ever tried any of the old National Distillers stuff out of Owensboro, these Barrel Proofs are the closest modern parallel. We feel truly honored to be selected as one of the very few stores in the country who will be selling these wonderful casks.

Staff Reviews

  • Jeffrey Jones
    By: Jeffrey Jones
    K&L Staff Member
    This is a wonderful single barrel selection because it is both delicious and it has some unique qualities What so unique about this bourbon is the mouth feel that, after a splash of water, is round with a creamy or velvet feel to it. The nose is a sweet caramel invitation and the mouth is sweet with some spice undertones. There is a nice long finish.
  • Jackson Lee
    By: Jackson Lee
    K&L Staff Member
    After much anticipation, we have finally received a private cask from Wathen’s at barrel strength! As a fan of their other whiskies and lover of high octane spirits, my excitement when this landed was almost fanatical. With that being said, I was a little disappointed with the nose after pouring it into the glass. It was hot but not too bad; it was the tightness that made it tough, faintly detecting notes underneath the alcohol. Initially notes of wet wood and Ume plum were pretty distinguishable, but there was another sweeter note hanging out underneath, something that reminded me of brown butter sugar cookies being baked in a neighbor’s kitchen. As time passed in the glass, the sweeter notes seemed to take more of a step forward. <br><br>The palate was an entirely different story. Soft, full, and lush were just some of the words that peppered my brain as I sipped the bourbon. Despite the high proof, it did not drink hot, on the contrary- it felt warm and soothing and I noticed that it got sweeter the longer I held it. Some of those grassy/wet wood notes came back, almost playing tug-of-war with the sweetness that was developing. The finish felt like the feelings I get in a nice relationship, it was long and warm and tingly. <br><br>I did add water for a second go around and found that it did loosen up the nose a bit, but not much, but more than that, it killed the silky texture that I found so nice on the palate. Taking this home, I’d say to let the glass sit and give the dram a bit of time before you drink, but be careful because once settled, it’s very easy to drink.
  • David Othenin-Girard
    By: David Othenin-Girard
    K&L Staff Member
    Barrel 69 is much more traditional than Barrel #40. The nose has powerful aromas of roasted coffee, sweet tea, toffee, and crème brûlée. The dense sweet aromatics on the nose are completely translated to the palate, but with the addition of a powerful oak spice and strong grassy note. Gorgeous tannin structure and a richer texture than the other barrel - it doesn't have the same linear earthy forest note, but the allusion to old school whisky component is still there. I actually like this with the tiniest drop of water (not something I often prefer do with cask strength bourbon). This cleans the earthy note up and softens the tannin adding a great sweetness to the spicy palate. Of the two barrels, I'd definitely give this to people looking for a more bold and challenging experience.


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