Whiskey Review: Belle Meade Bourbon Cognac Cask Finish

Belle Meade Bourbon Cognac Cask FinishEditor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a free sample to review by the party behind it. The Whiskey Wash, while appreciative of this, did keep full independent editorial control over this article.

As we reported previously, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery opened in November 2015—just 105 years after Prohibition forced the closure of one of the nation’s most prolific producers. The distillery is run by Andy and Charlie, great-great-great grandsons of Charles Nelson, who founded Green Brier the first time around. At its high point, in the late 1800s, it sold close to 380,000 gallons of whiskey annually; this was more than 10 times the production of other brands.

This reboot has led to the production of Belle Meade Bourbon, Belle Meade Bourbon Sherry Cask Finish, Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee White Whiskey, and now, Belle Meade Bourbon Cognac Cask Finish.

The Belle Meade bourbons, currently sourced, are normally high-rye (30%) and made from a proprietary blend of four barrels aged between six and nine years, using two different mash bills and yeast strains. In the case of the expression in this review, it is then further aged in casks made of French Limousin oak, previously used to age fine Champagne XO cognacs. It’s non-chill filtered and 90.4 proof.

Tasting Notes: Belle Meade Bourbon Cognac Cask Finish

Color: Honeyed gold, like a liquid nectar

Nose: Honeysuckle, brown sugar, caramel, with a whiff of high-proof alcohol. This actually smells like a 100+ proof whiskey—not overwhelming, but still surprising to get so much alcohol on the nose.

Palate: The high rye content of this bourbon provides a chewy, umami quality, which I adore, and the blend and cognac aging supplies a fruity sweetness. It kind of sparkles. Remember Pop Rocks? How they would sort of tickle your tongue a little bit? This is like the Pop Rocks of bourbon—and I mean that in the nicest of ways.

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I tend to find cognac a little sharp or bitey, and that still comes through. This sweetens the longer you let it rest. I probably wouldn’t make a drink with this; I’d drink it neat. I haven’t tried Belle Meade’s other bourbons, but it certainly makes me want to. I’d imagine this is sweeter than the sherry-aged bourbon, though it would be fun to compare.

This whiskey is interesting, a little different, and certainly tasty. I like the depth of flavors it brought.