Whiskey Review: Widow Jane The Vaults Aged 15 Years

, | February 10, 2022

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Widow Jane. 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.

I haven’t had the chance to taste many bourbons out of New York and learning a bit about Widow Jane has really opened my eyes to what’s possible outside of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Nestled in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, Widow Jane distills whiskey as well as sources casks from all over the country, then hand-assembles their inventory into unique releases. For the products they distill themselves, Widow Jane utilizes non-GMO heirloom Baby Jane corn, malted rye, and malted barley. Every bottling is non-chill filtered and proofed with pure limestone water from the Widow Jane Mines in Rosendale, New York.

The Vaults is a 2021 release from Widow Jane. It combines 15–17-year-old sourced bourbons selected by president and head distiller Lisa Wicker. It is a limited release and is considered by those who made it to be their “most hedonistic bourbon to date.” This expression was finished in Adirondack Oak casks that had an outdoor maturation process. The staves that make up the casks were air-seasoned outside for 42 months, 50% longer than the standard 1-2 years seasoning.

Wicker states, “Blending these older barrels for the Vaults is a privilege. They are old and beautiful on their own but are elevated when combined. Influencing them with extraordinary oak creates a one-of-a-kind combination.”

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For this 2021 release of the Vaults collection, Widow Jane released just over 3,000 bottles in select markets. After the wonderful tasting I had, I encourage those interested in a bourbon off the beaten path to seek out this expression with haste.

Widow Jane The Vaults Aged 15 Years review

Widow Jane The Vaults Aged 15 Years (image via Jerry Jenae Sampson)

Tasting Notes: Widow Jane The Vaults Aged 15 Years

Vital Stats: Batch #3, Bottle #3012, 2021 Release. 49.5% ABV (99 Proof). SRP $225/750mL.

Appearance: Dark amber with high viscosity.

Nose: Slightly medicinal cherry on the nose, along with more traditional vanilla and leather notes.

Palate: Surprising, to say the least. I was afraid the bourbon would be too sweet with some of what I was getting on the nose. But this thick, full-bodied bourbon has a nice heat at the front with a long finish. I got notes of wood, spices, hazelnut, and cola.

The Takeaway
4.5

Summary

This bourbon was like a firework on the palate – it delivers a kind of special punch that some traditional bourbons might lack. I was happy to have the opportunity to taste a bourbon from a different area, and was even more pleased that Widow Jane seems to take some risks–risks that have paid off with a truly delectable product.

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Jerry Jenae Sampson

Jerry Sampson is a freelance writer, editor and screenwriter. Her creative work is ever improved by her love of whiskey and craft cocktails. She enjoys taking cool fall days to explore the great distilleries around Portland to get a closer look at the inner workings of her favorite spirits.