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Bourbon

Forbidden Bourbon

OVERALL
RATING

9

Whiskey Review: Forbidden Bourbon

Tasting Notes:

About:
47.6% ABV. Mash bill: Undisclosed mix of white corn, white winter wheat, and malted barley. 95.2 Proof. MSRP 129 USD.
Appearance:
Auburn
Nose:
With its lower proof, I find that the scent engages without burning. It makes the notes vanilla and creme brulee come through with clarity. With time to focus and process the scent, I pick out the marginal notes of cigar and clove accenting the gourmand sweetness.
Palate:
The palate is gourmand, but with a muted sweetness. There’s an understated, woody body with accents of nutmeg, clove, and coffee. A dark oiliness carries the taste and makes the sweetness feel more of molasses than white sugar. There are some fruity notes of orange peel accenting it, but the fruity flavor of esters isn’t strong until the finish. As it fades, I get the flavorful sweetness of a spiced caramel latte, with the permeating taste of orange peel. This is definitely a whiskey that benefits from a few drops of water, as the muted flavors will really bloom.
Finish:
Comments:
This whiskey feels new, but also familiar. I should unpack that. This is a different taste for bourbon than I’m used to, but at the same time nothing feels shocking or unexpected. Its flavors are familiar, I understand how the techniques used in creating it produced them, and everything fits within my understanding of bourbon as a style of whiskey. At the same time, the way the flavors have been emphasized feels subtly ingenious. The muted sweetness against the heavy body feels like a natural choice, but I feel like I haven’t seen it done so well. Similarly, the fruity orange flavors that intensify into the finish aren’t anything I’ve never tasted before, but I’ve enjoyed a finish quite like this.rnrnSometimes all you need to be novel is to arrange the familiar in an unexpected way, and I’m more than happy to give this arrangement a glowing recommendation.

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. 

Forbidden Bourbon certainly aims to be something groundbreaking. It uses an unusual blend of ingredients, combining white corn, white winter wheat, and malted barley. It changes the usual process of bourbon production by introducing low-temperature fermentation. Marianne Eaves, Kentucky’s first female master distiller, guides the production all the way from farm to bottle. Ingredients, production, and creator all bring something fresh to this expression of bourbon.

White corn is an unusual grain to specify, if only because there’s low indication that the color of corn has a direct impact on taste. At the same time, as a firm believer in terroir’s impact on whiskey, I’m always glad to hear when a distiller is specific about their grains. The white wheat is the more unique choice – its inclusion tends to even out the sweetness of other ingredients, and it’s one of the strongest contrasts to corn in a mash bill.

The most innovative trait of this bourbon, though, is the use of low temperature fermentation. Distillers achieve this by introducing cold water during the course of fermentation. The process takes longer, and increases the esters present in a final wash. Esters contribute the fruity flavors of alcohol, and so it’s a move that could give a very distinct feel to the final product.

It’s always a pleasure to try whiskey that comes attached to a name like that of Eaves. I find that a prominent name often comes with a greater degree of experimentation. A distiller is both a craftsman and a creative. When someone has proven themselves in their field, they can branch into the auteur touches that help expand a medium. Forbidden Bourbon offers multiple new ideas, and they could be future norms if the expression is good.

Forbidden Bourbon review
We review Forbidden Bourbon, made by master distiller Marianne Eaves from a mash bill of white corn, white winter wheat, and malted barley. (image via Forbidden Bourbon)

Tasting Notes: Forbidden Bourbon

Vital Stats: 47.6% ABV. Mash bill: Undisclosed mix of white corn, white winter wheat, and malted barley. 95.2 Proof. MSRP 129 USD.

Appearance: Auburn

Nose: With its lower proof, I find that the scent engages without burning. It makes the notes vanilla and creme brulee come through with clarity. With time to focus and process the scent, I pick out the marginal notes of cigar and clove accenting the gourmand sweetness.

Palate: The palate is gourmand, but with a muted sweetness. There’s an understated, woody body with accents of nutmeg, clove, and coffee. A dark oiliness carries the taste and makes the sweetness feel more of molasses than white sugar. There are some fruity notes of orange peel accenting it, but the fruity flavor of esters isn’t strong until the finish. As it fades, I get the flavorful sweetness of a spiced caramel latte, with the permeating taste of orange peel.

This is definitely a whiskey that benefits from a few drops of water, as the muted flavors will really bloom.

Taylor Shiells

Taylor is a writer, researcher, and whiskey enthusiast. He came to Portland in pursuit of higher education, and found himself staying to pursue the Pacific Northwest's wide range of olfactory offerings. He's a fan of craft beer, farm to table food, indie perfume, and, most of all, whiskey. While he provides technical research to the entertainment industry by day, the Whiskey Wash gives him the opportunity to explore his passion, hone his palate, and practice a more flavorful form of writing.

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