By: David Othenin-Girard
K&L Staff Member
The exceptional Wathen's brand suffers from not having a team of marketing and sales people pushing it all over the place. But those who know understand that they're offering some of the best stuff out there. It's not sourced bourbon or contract distilled, but distilled by the owner Charles Wathen Medley at an undisclosed facility. They finally agreed to offer some single barrel selections at cask strength three years ago and if they'd put the age on these bottles they would have certainly sold out months ago. We can guess it's between 8 and 10 years old from one of KY's big distillers to Charles' specifications. If you tried the Medley cask strength and loved it, this is the same stuff more or less for $20 less. Let's taste: the nose starts with syrupy corn oil, vanilla bean, black tea, cinnamon and dried stone fruits. This is WAY less grassy than last years', which were total grass bombs and much more in line with the traditional Wathen's profile, which is to say sweet and spicy. On the palate: great balance, with the deep sweet oak coming through over the background baking spices. Lots of fuel in the tank here, richly textured and a long soft finish. There aren't many sleeper bourbon brands left, but this here is easily one of the coolest KY bourbons that's not on most bourbon nerds' radar. But what counts here is just how damned good it tastes, inviting and familiar yet unique in character.