Review: Wigle Madeira Cask Finished Bourbon

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Wigle Whiskey. This in no way, per our editorial policiesinfluenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

The creative minds at Wigle Whiskey are back with an organic Pennsylvania bourbon that is finished off for a year in a Madeira barrel. The spice-forward and caramel notes in the bourbon were selected specifically to pair with the fruity and nut notes that the Madeira is characteristically known for. How do the two come together once bottled?

Madeira is both a place and a fortified wine. The place is an island archipelago off the coast of northern Africa. The wine has been made using its signature process since the 15th century, when it was found that adding grape based spirits to barrels of wine could help the barrels withstand long sea journeys for export. Today the process includes heating and agitating the wine to develop oxidized flavors and bring it to its full potential.

It is not a new technique to incorporate various barrel types to formulate a specific flavor profile. Port barrels, beer barrels, and even other whiskey barrels are widely used in whiskey maturation. This technique, called “finishing,” allows the brand to explore their creative spirit while experimenting with a wider spectrum of flavors than are readily on hand in the basic distilling process.

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Wigle has procured a couple of Madeira barrels and have utilized them to accentuate their own bourbon. The result is a full bodied drink with a brightness and complexity that will give the drinker something to talk about while imbibing in their favorite setting.

Wigle Madeira Cask Finished Bourbon

Wigle Madeira Cask Finished Bourbon (image via Wigle)

Tasting Notes: Wigle Madeira Cask Finished Bourbon

Vital Stats: 92 proof. Bourbon was aged for 18 months, then finished for a year in Madeira barrels. $85 for a 750ml.

Appearance: Dark, with a bit of red in the color. Almost like a ruby port.

Nose: Brown sugar and mandarin oranges are at the front of the nose in this spirit. A hint of dark chocolate adds a bitter richness to the scent along with the flavors of malt and oats.

Palate: Christmas fruit cake is the first flavor that comes to mind when tasting this sample. There is a note of orange marmalade along with raisin and dried fig that rounds out the fruit flavors. The bitter chocolate from the nose is subtle but still there on the palate. The gentle hint of rose water sneaks in with a floral accent and the drink is finished off with the bite of baking spices and a balanced prickle of heat.

The Takeaway

Summary

This is an interesting and thought-provoking drink even if it does not tick all of my personal boxes for what I look for. A bit of ice or water smooths out any sharp edges that are present and you are given something to share and talk about. Plenty of flavor to go hunting for if you like to play detective. It is a little on the immature side and that is what is holding me back from a higher rating.

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3.5
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