Limestone Branch Distillery is introducing its 2017 Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey finished in charred wine casks. Similar to the Beam and Dant family tree, this latest bourbon release from Steve and Paul Beam has several branches.
A Blend of Three Bourbons
This release is a blend of a pair of sourced bourbons and for the first time includes a bourbon distilled at the Beam’s Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky.
The three bourbons include a seven year old sourced Kentucky bourbon with a mashbill made up of 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% malt. The 12 year old bourbon uses the exact same mashbill but has a bit more age under its belt. The third and most interesting is a four year old bourbon that was cooked, fermented, distilled and aged by Steve and Paul in their own distillery. Steve let us know that their four year old bourbon uses same mashbill as the sourced bourbon along with a locally grown heirloom white corn.
“We are beyond proud to be using some of our own distillate in this year’s Yellowstone Limited Edition,” says Steve Beam, president and distiller of Limestone Branch Distillery. “This is a momentous release for our family and it is meticulously handmade, grain to glass, right here at our distillery.”
I was a bit curious why a distiller would blend a younger bourbon with the two older bourbons especially since the 2016 Yellowstone is already hard to find. Steve said, “The TTB has required that a “finished” bourbon be classified as a Distilled Spirits Specialy (DSS), thus not having an age statement we felt that if we couldn’t have an age statement that we could then include some of our first barrels. Our four year old is just beginning to become ready and we thought that this would be a good way to include our product to be distributed in the widest manor possible. The seven and 12 year old is our standard batch for the Limited Edition so this was a natural progression for us.”
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Double Casking – Finished in Re-Charred Wine Casks
It’s often said that barrels make up all of the color for bourbon and, depending on whom you ask, 50% to 75% of the flavor. The Beam brothers have been very creative with the barrel finishing process for their Yellowstone Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This bourbon is aged for an additional nine months in wine casks before bottling to give it a unique but natural flavor.
Steve explained the process like this. “The wine casks are made slightly different than bourbon barrels. The wine barrels are constructed out of 18 month air dried American white oak staves that are fitted tighter allowing less air penetration. Wine barrels are built to last several fillings where bourbon barrels are generally constructed to be filled once. For 2016 I had new wine casks toasted. We divided the casks into three groups and the cooperage put a medium, medium + and heavy toast on them. We then finished the 2016 edition in them for right at 9 months, then dumped them. Once they were dumped I sent the barrels back to the cooper and had a #1 char put over the toasted wood, we then filled them again with the 2017 small batch bourbon.”
“By finishing the bourbon in charred wine casks, we allowed the juice to intensify and evolve, creating a wonderful result,” says Steve. “While last year’s edition was more about subtle nuances, this year’s edition we focused on intense flavors and a richer final product.”
The 2017 Yellowstone Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey finished in charred wine casks is bottled at 101 proof and available in 750ml bottles signed by Steve Beam and nestled in commemorative tubes. The company says Yellowstone Limited Edition offers an earthy flavor, dark and rich, with a nose of toasted oak, caramel and butterscotch at the front of the palette, giving way to rich leather and dark summer fruit on the finish. Approximately 7,000-8,000 bottles of this bourbon are being produced this fall and will be sold with a suggested retail price of $99.99.