Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Stellum Spirits. 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 founder of the award-winning Barrel Craft Spirits (BCS), Joe Beatrice, believes in balancing intuition with observation and experimentation. He’s directly applying this belief (along with high standards) to the brands newest output, Stellum Spirits. Stellum’s inaugural offering includes a rye (green label) and bourbon (blue label), both of which are barreled at cask strength.
Stellum Spirits debuted with a promise to “celebrate the modern-day whiskey drinker.” Beatrice says, “We wanted to create a brand that brings American Whiskey into the modern age with simple elegant blends and single barrels selected with care and intention.”
Everything about Stellum Rye and Bourbon is polished and straightforward, from its simple and uncluttered label to the pleasant and well-rounded flavor profile. For Stellum Spirits, Beatrice selects and creates the Rye and Bourbon alongside his tight-knit group of creators, including Chief Whiskey Scientist Tripp Stimson, Chief Product Innovation Officer Will Schragis, and Assistant Blender Nic Christiansen.
The team at Stellum Spirits has continued the experienced blending process displayed at Barrel Craft Spirits. The Stellum Bourbon is made with three Indiana Bourbon mash bills: two high rye and the third corn, which are blended with older barrels from Kentucky and Tennessee. The Stellum Rye is created from a 95% Rye Indiana mash bill, with traces of barley-forward rye alongside barrels of Kentucky and Tennessee rye. This unique mingling of border-crossing barrels results in flavors that please the palate without pushing boundaries.
For a brand that aims to “investigate the importance of nuance and micro differentiation in a paired down and minimalist setting,” Stellum Spirits has started off with two impressive and enjoyable offerings.
Tasting Notes: Stellum Bourbon
Appearance: Clear dark gold.
Nose: Beautiful notes of honeysuckle and spice, a warm sweet roll, with the faint scent of corn starch.
Palate: At the top of the palate there is a peppery sweetness, with hints of dried stone fruit and green apples. Sharp heat morphs into a smooth finish. There is a woodsy undertone – I wonder which barrel that emits from?
Final Thoughts: This isn’t the most intricate design when it comes to a bourbon, but it is nice when a little water is added to it. I’d consider it a simple sipper.
Tasting Notes: Stellum Rye
Appearance: Dark copper.
Nose: Delicate and fruity, with summer berries and the faint scent of a wood shop.
Palate: Delicious. Fruit-forward with the distinct taste of persimmon along with the cinnamon, sugar, rye, and pepper. It’s not warming in the belly, but it definitely heats the mouth.
Final Thoughts: No doubt one of my favorite recent tastings. This is a nice, smooth rye with good balance between the spice and the fruity notes.
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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.