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The craft Bourbon movement has been in full swing for a number of years now. In addition to a bevy of interesting products, many of these small producers have compelling stories as well. You can count the Belle Meade Bourbons from Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery among their number. In downtown Nashville brothers Andy and Charlie Nelson found a unique spot to resurrect the Whiskey business founded by their great-great-great grandfather in the mid 1800’s. Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery was family run from that time until State enforced Prohibition shut it down in 1909. It not only introduced Tennessee Whiskey to the world but in those years it was also the largest producer of Whiskey in the state. More than 100 years later the Nelson brothers re-opened it as a small batch producer whose specialty is special cask finished Bourbons.
In addition to those Special Cask Finished Bourbons their current portfolio includes a White Whiskey ($20) and straight Bourbon ($35). I tasted through all three of their cask finished offerings and I was hard pressed to pick a favorite. I found each of them to be distinct and appealing in its own right. In the Single Malt Scotch World Glenmorangie is one of many producers that are well regarded for special cask finished offerings. At their heart, these releases from the Nelson brothers brought those to mind for me; here’s a look at that trio.

Belle Meade Bourbon Cognac Cask Finish ($75)

The Bourbon barrels selected for this offering had a 30% Rye content. Chosen Barrels also had 6-9 years of age on them prior to entering their secondary aging vessels. They were finished in French Limousin Oak that previously contained XO Cognac that aged in them for 12 years.  Vanilla, tangerine zest, and a potpourri of spices leap from the nose. The delicate leaning palate shows off black tea, brown sugar and toasted pecan. Toasty oak, vanilla and bits of honey are all in evidence on the persistent and complex finish.

Belle Meade Bourbon Madeira Cask Finish ($75)

Belle Meade bourbons with six and nine years of age on them were placed in used Madeira casks for additional aging. Bits of praline, Mexican vanilla bean, and ripe fig burst from the nose. The substantial palate shows off toasted mixed nuts, red fruits, dates, and burnt brown sugar. Baking spices, dark chocolate, and mesquite honey are all part of the noteworthy finish here.

Belle Meade Bourbon Sherry Cask Finish ($75)

This limited release 9 year old Bourbon was finished in Oloroso Sherry Casks brought over from Spain. The Nelsons chose small quantities of barrels from their reserve stock to create this expression. From the first whiff to the last sip this is distinct and impressive Bourbon. Toasted nuts and wisps of tobacco inform the nose. Bits of rum raisin, toast are in evidence on the palate alongside mission fig and date notes. Leather, spices, hints of chocolate, and a touch pf caramel are all present on the long, warm finish.

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