The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2013

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Page 24 of 152

Last Call THREE GREAT MASTER DISTILLERS LEAVE LEGACIES IN LIQUID PHOTO COURTESY OF LOUISVILLE DISTILLING Lincoln Henderson. strength Angel's Envy is a glowing example of Lincoln's talent. The spice, the caramel, oh, the spice, it just dances a beautiful tune of delicious you just don't find that often. Lastly, the final Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel ($34.99) bottling during Lee's long lifetime. This man gave us Blanton's, the first single barrel product available to consumers, and was a major HOTO: MARK CORNELISON, LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, COURTESY OF BUFFALO TRACE DISTILLERY PHOTO COURTESY OF A. SMITH BOWMAN DISTILLERY Truman Cox. D espite the incredible new products coming to market and the recordbreaking whiskey sales, 2013 was a tough year for American whiskey. When we lose a member of the family, it hurts, and we lost some good ones this year. This year, we lost Truman Cox, 44, Master Distiller of A. Smith Bowman Distillery; Elmer T. Lee, 93, the creator of Blanton's and former Master Distiller of the George T. Stagg Distillery (Buffalo Trace); and Lincoln Henderson, 75, former Master Distiller of Woodford Reserve and co-founder of Angel's Envy. In their memory, this month's column features their final creations. Truman Cox's final whiskey was Abraham Bowman Port Finished Bourbon ($69.99). The nose is reminiscent of older whiskeys and cognacs, layered in spice and sweetness, but with a gentle tickle of leather and cigar box. The balanced mouth feel drips with tannins, and the lovely taste is slightly briny with salted caramel, chocolate, vanilla and spice. This Virginia-made port-finished bourbon reminds me that finishing with used European barrels is a gift when done right. Nobody knew finishing better than Lincoln Henderson, whose Angel's Envy finishes its bourbon in used port barrels. I asked Lincoln once why he came out of retirement to start a new whiskey brand. "I get to work with my son and grandson," he told me, saying working with his son, Wes, and grandson, Kyle, was a lifelong dream. That dream also broke ground with one of Lincoln's final whiskeys—Angel's Envy Cask Strength ($149), which makes me wonder why they ever bottled anything lower than 123 proof. Rippled in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry jam, honey and toasted almonds, the cask Elmer T. Lee. reason that we saw a resurgence in bourbon. Buffalo Trace tells me they'll continue the Elmer T. Lee product line, but this, the bottle before me, was among the bottles from the final barrel he personally selected. How could I even open it? Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel stole my heart many moons ago, and now I'm forced to open this bottle, knowing it was Elmer's last barrel. The nose is a beautiful display of old style bourbon with campfire, toasted marshmallow and caramel. The taste is soft, gentle even, with a velvety texture and notes of praline, caramel, vanilla, cinnamon and canned black fruits. Elmer sure knew how to pick a barrel. All three did. 24  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2013 TP1213_001-33.indd 24 11/22/13 8:38 PM

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