Whiskey Review: 2020 Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon

, | December 7, 2020

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Limestone Branch. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced 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 market for American whiskey and bourbon is flooded with heritage labels and fresh takes on the long tradition of small batch distilling. It is easy to get lost in the deluge of labels and names that claim to be rooted in the pioneers of whiskey. When researching my sampling of Yellowstone 2020 Limited Edition, I was intrigued by the name behind the brand.

From some members of the famous Beam whiskey family comes the Limestone Branch Distillery. Brothers Paul and Steve Beam opened the Limestone Branch Distillery in 2011 and take pride in the family name and business when developing their small batch spirits. Yellowstone 2020 Limited Edition may not tick all the boxes for everyone, but it sure will satisfy that thirst for a traditional bourbon with plenty of character to spare via an interesting cask finish.

For this release Limestone took a 7 year old straight bourbon and finished it in ex-French Armagnac brandy barrels. As Steve Beam noted at the time of its release, “I knew I wanted to finish our bourbon in a cask and I was looking for one that would add complexity and a dimension that expands the flavor profile. Armagnac is a rustic, full-bodied spirit that contributes dark fruit notes, complementing the vanilla notes in the bourbon.”

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Limestone targets the yearly Limited Edition towards collectors, which is reflected in the price tag of around $100 per 750 ml bottle.

2020 Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon

2020 Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon (image via Limestone Branch Distillery)

Tasting Notes: 2020 Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Vital Stats: Finished in French Armagnac barrels, this 7-year old bourbon has an ABV of 55%. It prices around $100. About 5,000 cases of it being released nationwide.

Appearance: The amber color is inviting and when swirled, the whiskey’s legs cling to the walls of the tumbler much like a fine wine.

Nose: Notes of pear, brown sugar, and clove set up the nose followed by a hint of Red Hots candy and vanilla on the end.

Palate: Unsalted butter was an interesting first note that hit me, defining both a flavor and the smooth buttery mouthfeel. The bourbon’s heat is a slow build that elevates its flavors. Cinnamon candy and black pepper are present for a zesty sipping experience. The firm presence of oak ushered in the next round of flavors of canned mandarin slices leaving me with a flavor reminiscent of warm spiced cider.

The Takeaway

Summary

When you are going to trade on a well-known name as part of your marketing you best make sure you are either on par or exceeding the expectations that are associated with such an endeavor. Their marketing states they are delivering “top-shelf flavor with humble complexities,” and from my taste, I feel they are on target. The Yellowstone, 2020 limited edition is a fine addition to anyone’s liquor cabinet when looking for a small-batch option that can hold its own in flavor, character, and add to a fine family tradition of whiskey craftsmanship.

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John Dover

As the creator and writer of “Johnny Scotch”, John Dover has built his Jazz Noir world from the music he is immersed in on a daily basis and from his travels across the US as a professional musician. John continues to build the “Johnny Scotch” library through short stories, and...