Proof: 115 (67% alcohol)
Price/Value/Rating: $65 retail and worth every penny in our opinion, Grade 93% (A-)
Taste: Delicious, no need to go into all the flavor profile notes, it just goes down smooth and deliciously, but it does pack a bit of heat, you will feel it in your mouth, throat and chest, but for 115 proof, its an amazingly smooth bourbon.
The camps are divided on this one, as they always are, with any Orphan Barrel release. But 3 veteran and expert tasters on our end agree its good, especially at this price. As the story goes, somehow 17 year old Stitzel-Weller “accidently” got mixed in with a 4-year old bourbon. The rule is, that if you put an age statement on a bottle of whiskey, it always must be the youngest one. So, rather than put 4-year old on the label, they removed it all together (unlike with their other bottles) and just decided to let their marketing team at it.
If anyone knows anything about Stitzel-Weller, they know that not only is it the finest bourbon whiskey out there, but its now endangered and on its way to extinction. In 1992 they shut down and the remaining barrels were sold to various companies, of course the most famous is Pappy Van Winkle, which sells for as much as $300 retail and $2,000 on the secondary black market. Needless to say, there is a reason why its rare and the most sought-after in the whiskey world.
With all that in mind, its hard to believe that anyone who has their hands on Stitzel-Weller would “accidently” blend it with a 4-year whiskey. Needless to say that this would be sacrilege and they would be subject to a public firing squad if it were legal. But blending whiskey is nothing new, and there is nothing wrong with it. But in the ultra-competitive world of bourbon and a company like this that has reputation, its likely they would make up a story like this to drive up sales, as if Stitzel-Weller would not be enough. But here is how they tell their story…
The Gifted Horse (115 proof/57.5% ABV) is comprised of 38.5% 17-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon, distilled at the Bernheim Distillery historically located at 17th and Breckinridge in Louisville, Ky., while operated by United Distillers. It also contains 51% four-year-old bourbon and 10.5% four-year-old corn whiskey, both produced at a high-quality distillery in Indiana. Initially, these individual whiskeys were stored at their original distilleries before being moved to Stitzel-Weller, where the mingling error occurred.
The Gifted Horse’s package design reflects the lucky fortune in discovering such a unique whiskey, featuring a lighthearted illustrative style, a horseshoe and the prominently featured Gifted Horse image. Hinting at what’s inside the bottle, the weathered red label entices those to discover a whiskey bold and flavorful.
When I taste it, its simply delicious, no need to go into all the flavor profile notes, it just goes down smooth and deliciously. However, it does pack a bit of heat, you will feel it in your mouth, throat and chest, but for 115 proof, its an amazingly smooth bourbon. This the type of drink you need to have at the end of a rough week. Its Friday, the work week is over, and you have been looking forward to this all week. At 115 proof, just one sip and you will feel it hit your chest and you will come back down from the stress-tosphere and land softly and safely back down to Earth.
Let the haters hate, I am buying every bottle of this I can find and afford at this price. This is one for the bomb shelter bunker. Here is the proof… I bought every last one on the shelf and found 3 others at a different store, but was limited by the amount of money in my wallet.
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