Sweetens Cove Tennessee Bourbon made a splash for itself last year when the brand first surfaced, been backed by the likes of football great Peyton Manning, tennis legend Andy Roddick, sportscaster Jim Nantz and singer-songwriter Drew Holcomb, among others. Also on board was master distiller/blender Marianne Eaves, formerly of Woodford Reserve and Castle & Key. Eaves put together a solid release for 2020, and now looks to try again with a new offering.
The new Sweetens Cove Tennessee Bourbon (2021), according to those behind it, is one specific blend. Although it has been produced in two tranches, they should be treated exactly the same for consumption purposes. Whereas the 2020 offering came from 100 identical barrels that all were barreled on the same date and from one distillery, being broken up into batches for variety and collectability purposes, this latest one is blend of three different ages (4, 6, and 16 years) that were stored at different locations and produced from multiple sources.
The nature of this whiskey is said to allow Eaves’ talents as a master blender to stand out by allowing her to individually select each barrel she wanted in her blend. As she puts it in her own words in a prepared statement, “Sweetens Cove’s 2021 release has been created through a similar process of blending that I used for the inaugural release, except with the extra interest of the five unique bourbon production days, the oldest of which is 16 years! As I went through and tasted all 264 barrels I started to separate the super unique barrels and the slightly unbalanced barrels from the bulk of the product which was just consistently delicious.
“Once I had separated these special ones, I started to create small batches and continuously add, so from five barrel batches to 10 barrel batches to eventually the beautiful blend that we wound up with. I like to start with the older product first, and once I got to the point that I made a great blend with the 6 and 16-year, I felt it really needed the lighter brighter notes of the 4-year.”
As Eaves started to blend using oldest product, she wanted to make sure she honored the characteristics of each of the unique lots. To that end, she noted, “the 16-year presented to me almost like an aged red wine, lots of baking spices and dark red fruit. The 6-year was also mature tasting with lots of toasted oak and ripe fruit. The combination of these two made a really beautiful rich flavor profile, but I was missing the sweet vanilla, honey and citrus that dominated the 4-year-old lots.
“I have been so excited to have the chance to hunt for treasures that are available out there in the market, and to marry them in totally unique ways. The story that this bourbon tells is one of balance and nuance and the complexity that comes with the changes each unique lot sees overtime.”
As it stands now plans call for approximately 42,000 bottles to be released starting this month, each bottled at 113.7 proof and pricing at $200. The release will also push beyond the initial markets of Tennessee and Georgia into four new states, including Texas.
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...