Thursday, May 23, 2024

15 Stars Private Stock 8 & 15 Year Blended Bourbon


15 Stars Private Stock 8 & 15 Year Blended Bourbon

Sourcing and blending whiskey is nothing new.  The practice has been going on for hundreds of years since the first whiskey was produced.  But in order to be successful at blending whiskey, you need to have an understanding of the whiskey itself, the mash bills, the age statements, how to marry the various barrels and an impeccable taste for quality.  Owners of 15 Stars, Rick and Ricky Johnson, are a father and son duo that formed the company in 2019 but didn't release their first product until the spring of 2022.  These entrepreneurs and whiskey pros have been steadily growing their brand since then, paying attention to every detail (including the 15 stars bottle closure, offering a nod to Kentucky becoming the 15th state) and sourcing only what they feel are the finest bourbon barrels available from Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee.

If you consider yourself a "bourbon purist", you might be rolling your eyes about now.  And you would be extremely remiss.  Sure, there is something to be said about a farm-to-bottle, locally sourced grains, aged-in-house operation.  But it is equally impressive to come across master blenders who can create unique and delicious bourbon.  In some cases, you could argue that the latter is more difficult because of the constant trial and error one must endure to find the perfect recipe that ultimately ends up in the bottle.

We were completely thrilled to taste this 15 Stars Private Stock 8 & 15 Year Blended Bourbon.  We had been seeing different 15 Stars products pop up at local liquor stores occasionally, but they were never on the shelves very long, which is indicative to the growing popularity of the brand.  

We tasted this neat in a Glencairn, but we didn't pop and pour this one.  The aromas leapt out of the bottle and we let this one set in the glass for about 15 minutes prior to seeing what it was about.  

15 Stars Private Stock 8 & 15 Year Blended Bourbon Close Up

Dark brown sugar color to the glass edge with impressive viscosity.  The bourbon felt very luxurious and the aromas initially made you feel like you were walking into a bakery.  Inviting fragrances of freshly baked yeast donuts filled the nose followed by raspberry filling, caramel and clover honey.  The first sip brought in oodles of black cherry with signs of cedar, dried tobacco leaf and vanilla fudge.  We went back and forth about baked pecan pie and mocha hints at the finish, but the black cherry dominance was present throughout the tasting and it was absolutely delicious.  You could drink this on the rocks, but for the life of us, we don't know why you would.  This bottle, in our opinion, should be enjoyed neat and maybe slightly chilled.  Our wine library is about 64 degrees, so this was right in our wheelhouse.  

Keep an eye out for 15 Stars.  They're off to a fantastic start and the momentum is growing!  If we are to assume that this bottle is an indication of the quality of all of their releases, we can't wait to taste some others.  Yes, it is that good!  This one will be fun to re-visit throughout the next few months to see what a little airtime does for it.  We think it will continue to thrive.

Check out our YouTube video review!

ABV:  53.5% (107 proof)

Distillery:  15 Stars

Suggested retail price:  $139.00

Drink The Bottles score:  94/100

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