As much as I’ve not wanted to name a “favorite” bourbon in this blog, I have such a high affinity for Straight Edge that I could probably call it my favorite. But I have to say that with one caveat: It’s not always easy to get as the producer (The Splinter Group) runs a limited batch every year, so once stock runs out at a store, then it’s gone until the next batch comes in. Late last year, I got pretty much the last bottle in the area at a BevMo, and it wasn’t until recently that it finally came available again. Hopefully, they’ve upped their production.
So what’s so special about this bourbon? It’s all about balance, and that has to do with how it’s aged. The Splinter Group doesn’t actually distill this bourbon. They source whiskeys from Kentucky and Tennessee, then age them in French Oak Cabernet casks; specifically, from the Orin Swift winery. What this produces is a super-smooth, incredibly mellow bourbon that has just enough proof to warm you up. It’s no burner at 42 proof, but this makes it an excellent bourbon to drink neat.
What I Smell
Vanilla and caramel notes, plus the subtlest hint of wine and oak and faint honeysuckle. The nose is incredibly inviting and beckons you to explore further.
What I Taste
Up-front, the vanilla, and caramel from the nose are validated, but in moderation. This is followed by an ever-so-slight astringency that’s very wine-like. This bourbon is all about a balance of tastes; moderately sweet, smooth, but not too silky. There’s a subtle umami that develops on the finish, which is long and pleasing.
How I Like to Drink It
Believe it or not, my favorite way to drink this is prepared as the base of an Old Fashioned. It’s balanced nature just lends itself to being part of a concoction. But that is only if I drink it at a bar.
When I have a bottle of this at home, I almost invariably drink it neat, or with an ice globe if the weather’s warm. The great thing is that with its moderate proof, it won’t knock you out!
To me, this is one of the great bourbons. My very nature prefers balance and versatility, and this bourbon has it all.