Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. 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 in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
When I look at my liquor cabinet, I appreciate the variety of design in bottles. They come short and long. They come round and square. They can have colored glass, they can have elaborately designed labels, and a few have exotic shapes to cut striking profiles. There’s one, however, that stands out.
The 8 Year Doc Holliday Straight Bourbon Whiskey comes in a round bottle with a fluted shoulder and a slight taper toward the bottom. Its label is an elaborately stylized mix of font, color, and imagery that evokes a mix of 1800s bank note and wild west medicine advertisement. There’s a picture of the eponymous gunslinger with the phrase “I’m Your Huckleberry” and a salute to Doc Holliday as an “American gambler, gunfighter, and dentist.”
Before I could read that, however, I had to remove the golden plastic longhorn skull affixed to the bottle. To top it all off, literally, the bottle stopper is shaped like a revolver’s cylinder and adorned with 6 bullet ends reading “straight bourbon.”
I’m giddy at this level of commitment. It makes me want to put on a cowboy hat and drink it on a horse. Whether it’s a wild west aesthetic, prohibition era art deco, or a Japanese sansui, I love when a bottle has an identity. It makes for a better looking whiskey shelf. It gives a conversation piece when I’m sharing a pour. Best of all, it gets me into that whimsical, artful mindset to find the story in the taste of a whiskey.
The visually creative bottling owes to the World Whiskey Society. They offer a curated library of releases from different distillers which they describe as an “ultra-premium collection of rare expressions.” Befitting of rare expressions, they give their bottles fanciful designs including interesting labels, elaborate shapes, and some shockingly elaborate bottle toppers.
The 8 Year Doc Holliday Straight Bourbon Whiskey certainly qualifies as rare. This bottling comes from the barrels of the late Ivy Mountain Distillery. Their stock was resting in Texas for two years before the World Whiskey Society moved them back to their native Georgia to complete aging. Thanks to these unusual circumstances, the whiskey matured in two distinct locations and gained a signature character.
In their day, Ivy Mountain Distillery never had a wild west motif. Their location in Georgia is the only connection I can find to Doc Holliday. This branding seems to be entirely a creation of the World Whiskey Society. By rescuing barrels from obscurity and attaching a colorful identity to them, they seem to be creating a rare expression from scratch. Perhaps there’s an artifice to it, but it’s an artifice worthy of attention.
Tasting Notes: 8 Year Doc Holliday Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Vital Stats: 65.5% ABV. Mash bill: 80% Corn, 10% Malted Corn, 5% Rye, 5% Malted Barley. 131 Proof. Suggested Retail: 134 USD.
Nose: There’s a forward note of peach and apricot, accompanied by an undertone of vanilla. There are hints of citrus and spring flowers, mixing in with the whiff of burn from the strong proof.
Palate: The burn is assertive, but doesn’t overpower the fruit tones. There is a strong core of apricot, brushing up against a twist of orange. The pepper and oak quality of bourbon becomes more present as the burn takes a stronger hold. As the burn fades into the finish, it takes on a smokier quality. The fruit diminishes, and I’m left with notes of stewed black tea, nutmeg, and a faint note of hazelnut.
Whiskey Review: 8 Year Doc Holliday Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Appropriately for a bottle that looks like a revolver, this has some kick. Despite its high proof, though, it never becomes so aggressive that I can’t appreciate the complexity of its favor. There’s an evolution from fruit and citrus to spice and nuttiness that I enjoy exploring with each sip.
While the unusual bottle design gets my attention, I’m pleased to find that its flavor profile has a character of its own. I don’t quite think it elevates any element of its flavor profile to be an exceptional bourbon, but I can comfortably call it an excellent one.
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Taylor is a writer, researcher, and whiskey enthusiast. He came to Portland in pursuit of higher education, and found himself staying to pursue the Pacific Northwest's wide range of olfactory offerings. He's a fan of craft beer, farm to table food, indie perfume, and, most of all, whiskey. While he...