What’s in a finish? Bourbon, by law, only needs to be aged in white oak barrels. Once the distillery feels that its product has aged long enough, the bourbon can be transferred to another barrel that previously housed any type of liquid. Liquid like honey, wine, or cognac, to name a few.
The process of finishing a bourbon in another barrel is called “special cask finishes.” This trend has gained popularity over the years, and even popular brands are jumping into the mix to gain more shelf space. These special finishes expose bourbon enthusiasts to another variation of the brand’s expression.
The Bourbon Flight loves all things bourbon and special finishes are just another evolution in the history of bourbon. Here is our list of the top five special cask bourbons.
Jefferson’s Reserve Old Rum Cask Finished $80
- Aged in Gosling’s Family Reserve Old rum barrel, this bourbon has come full circle since the rum was aged in an ex-bourbon barrel. This bourbon was aged an additional 14 months to provide a sweet chocolate finish with orange peel, cherries, and a hint of rum.
Barrell Craft Spirits Dovetail $90
- Here is a bourbon that wine and bourbon drinkers can all agree on. Finished in Dunn Vineyards Cabernet barrels. Plum and raisins dance throughout this bourbon, while the finish feels like you are drinking a bourbon. If you like a more profound wine experience than just a Pinot, this finish will satisfy you.
Rebel Bourbon Finished In Tawny Port Barrels $40
- Lux Row continues to push out good bourbon and this special finish is no exception. Tawney Port is known for its rich caramel and chocolate flavors. However, this bourbon adds marzipan and orange blossoms to the delightful taste. A lower-proof bourbon that is very easy to drink.
Woodinville Moscatel Finished Straight Bourbon $100
- A little higher priced than the others, but it is worth the extra money. Moscatel is a rare, fortified wine. Produced on the Setúbal Peninsula of Portugal, a region known for its ideal climate. As expected, the finish provides a sweetness that captures apricot, toffee, and honey, making it a smooth, well-rounded sipping bourbon.
Blood Oath Pact No. 6 $100
- Another cognac-finished bourbon, but so much different. Dark fruits reign supreme in this expression. Like a warm and inviting dessert, caramel and baking spices shine through. Not super heavy on the palate, but enough heat for bourbon fanatics to enjoy. Revel in the long finish as it takes you across the finish line.
Special finishes are not going away anytime soon. I hope distilleries don’t go crazy trying to pair certain flavors together, like whiskey. The last thing we need is a bourbon finished in peanut butter.
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