Yellowstone Select Bourbon

Yellowstone Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

Image courtesy of Master of Malt

What they say

A delicate fusion of flavors from seventh-generation distillers, this straight bourbon features a handpicked blend of 4- and 7-year-old bourbons, for an exclusive old-fashioned whiskey that honors its deep family origins.

It all begins with the mash bill, the basic recipe for the bourbon. For Yellowstone, we use an open-pollinated white heirloom corn which makes for a slightly lighter whiskey flavor. Corn accounts for 75% of the grain bill, with 13% rye and 12% malted barley. A recipe, not so incidentally, that came from Stephen and Paul Beam’s grandfather’s notes.

There’s no pressure cooking at Limestone, just an old-fashioned open cook, starting at 200-degrees-plus to break down the starches of the corn. Many larger distilleries cook all the grain at one time, but we take a three-stage temperature cook. After the corn we lower the temperature, add our rye, and ultimately lower the temperature again to add the malted barley.

After the cook, it’s time to lower the temperature and pitch the yeast. And here’s where a little magic comes in: Our yeast is a strain used by Stephen and Paul’s great grandfather and grandfather, reclaimed through DNA from a yeast jug that was on display in the Oscar Getz Whiskey Museum in Bardstown, Kentucky. The strain goes back to ancestors Guy Beam and Minor Case, and probably a lot further.

Once the yeast is pitched and fermentation begins, it will continue for roughly 72 hours and produce what is called distillers beer, at about 8 to 10% alcohol.

The distillers beer then heads into the 600-gallon pot still for a stripping run, turning the beer into 250 gallons of what is now called low wine, at 25 to 30% alcohol.

The low wine then goes into a traditional alembic still to boil off volatile compounds (in a variety of steps called cuts — the foreshot, the head, the tails, and the heart). The heart is ultimately what is collected to go into barrels — now as close to 100 proof as possible.

By then, 600 gallons of water and 950 pounds of grain have turned into one 53-gallon barrel of whiskey. All that remains is to actually transfer it into newly charred oak barrels to begin the aging process.

Yellowstone Kentucky straight bourbon borrows its moniker from America’s very first national park. In 1872, Yellowstone bourbon was crafted to honor the park’s sprawling historic wonder and pioneering spirit. Here’s hoping you enjoy drinking our national treasure as much we enjoyed distilling it.

To further do our part, we are donating a portion of Yellowstone bourbon proceeds to the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), an independent, nonpartisan organization devoted to nurturing our country’s national parks for future generations.

Official tasting notes

  • Nose Rye spice with soft, leathered cherries
  • Palate Smoked caramel
  • Finish Smoky oak and brown sugar

What I say

In some circles Yellowstone’s annual offerings are starting to gain a little bit of a cult status. Sadly precious little of these reach the UK’s shores and fetch 3 times the price of their entry-level offering sampled here which is already 2x the price of most other (albeit higher output) entry level bourbons.

  • ABV 46.5%
  • Age 4-7 Years old
  • Bottler Limestone Branch distillery
  • Bottling Official
  • Cask Virgin oak
  • Category Bourbon
  • Cost £50
  • Origin Undisclosed Kentucky distillery
  • Outturn Undisclosed
  • Region Kentucky
  • Released n/a
  • Vintage Undisclosed

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance Orange gold (12/20), large tears and medium legs.
  • Nose Sweet, treacle, molasses, corn/maize, cornflakes, crunchy/honey nut cornflakes, popcorn, golden syrup, toffee, oak wood and some solventy wood polish.
  • Taste Medium-light bodied, soft, sugary fudge, vanilla, soft cinnamon spice, toffee and walnut fudge cake, ripe cherries, caramel, nutmeg, creamy.
  • Finish Medium-long, vaporous and spirity at first, herbal cinnamon schnapps later with some eucalyptus.
  • Overall Great nose and palate, not overly complex but enough wood and spice present to balance out the natural sweetness thanks to the rye inclusion. An accomplished entry-level bourbon.

Score 83/100

Available from Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange

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