Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Redemption Whiskey. 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.
Redemption: they’ve never made any bones about their whiskey being from ye olde Midwestern Grain Products (MGP), the most prolific of custom distilleries. The mainly rye label has never really set off fireworks, either, but 2021 found them winning Rye Whiskey Brand of the Year at the NY International Spirits Competition. Cask finishes may prove invaluable as they seek to hone their image further.
Redemption Cognac Cask Finish Bourbon Whiskey is the latest contribution. It’s built from the same mash bill as their high rye bourbon. After it comes out of those American oak barrels, it slides right into Cognac barrels from Pierre Ferrand (some of those casks have held premium brandy for over 30 years!).
Ferrand have been making premium Cognac for ten generations. Current Master Blender and owner Alexandre Gabriel has been at the helm for 32 years, and gained a reputation for unflagging experimentation: straying from the typical ugni blanc and diversifying the casks his own product is finished in.
Holding the reigns on the Redemption side is Master Blender Dave Carpenter. Carpenter first earned an Associate of Science in Culinary Arts from Sullivan University and worked as a chef for a time. Since then, he’s spent over 18 years in food and beverage, holding positions on both production and marketing teams. He began his climb up the spirits ladder working for Jim Beam and then Jeptha Creek. Deutsch Family (owners of Redemption) has been his home since 2018.
Tasting Notes: Redemption Cognac Cask Finish Bourbon Whiskey
Vital Stats: 99 proof and made from 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley. It’s aged for an undisclosed length of time before being finished for 12 months in Cognac barrels (French oak, mais oui). Find a 750mL bottle nationwide, for a limited time, for around $70.
Appearance: This liquid is a very clear medium pale amber that forms average tears.
Nose: The nose is mostly pencil shavings with a little tang of red wine and cola; vanilla around the edges.
Palate: Fruity like berries and woody like I am chewing those pencil shavings. Thin body with plenty of heat.
The impact of the Cognac cask doesn’t make a big impression here. Perhaps if the whiskey had spent a bit more time in its initial barrels, the brief finishing period would be more evident. It’ll work for mixing – choose another for sipping.
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In 2014 I founded Portland Bitters Project with the vision to create the best bitters on the market. Now our bitters are enjoyed around the country and internationally to make expressive, delicious cocktails. I teach at two Portland colleges and visit private groups, distilleries and maker's spaces to spread the...