Lucky Seven: The Hold Up
My "day job" changed this past year and a dear friend shared a special bourbon with me to celebrate the occasion. Buffalo Trace's 3rd generation employee (and now tour guide) Freddie Johnson has shared, in the documentary Neat, "Never save old bottles of bourbon. It's meant to be enjoyed with friends and family. There will always be more old barrels of bourbon. It's not about the whiskey. Its about people and the lives you touch." Perhaps he's right - perhaps there is still some fine, undiscovered bourbon out there. Let's see if Lucky Seven - The Hold Up is one of them.
A Love of Bourbon ... and Cinema? Lucky Seven Spirits was founded by Michael Lahalih and John Pals. They met during college and share a common love of bourbon and cinema. The Lucky Seven brand draws its name from the famous Stage 7 in Hollywood. Movies filmed there include Casablanca, The Big Sleep, Calamity Jane, A Star is Born (the original), Rebel Without a Cause, Oceans 11 (the original), and My Fair Lady. So many successful movies were filmed there that it gained the name "Lucky Seven" - hence the name for a great bourbon. Other than that, there's not much known about Lucky Seven. The bourbon is sourced from an undisclosed Kentucky Distillery (bets would include Heaven Hill and Bardstown Bourbon Company). In addition to the 12-year variety we're sampling today, there is the Holiday Toast (a double oak 115 proof expression), The Proprietor 14-year single barrel cask strength, the 6-year Proprietor single barrel cask strength, and the more widely available Jokester 6-year 95-proof. The Tasting Lucky Seven The Hold Up Batch #2 is bottled at 100-proof and carries a 12-year age-statement on the sepia-toned argyle label. There is a peel-off feature to the label with additional information about the tasting notes and a QR code that links to a short video of "the hold up" and resulting sharing of bourbon among the patrons. Eye: Deep caramel amber. Numerous wispy legs are exhibited on the inside of my glass. Based upon the color, there has spent a good amount of time in the barrel. Nose: Vanilla with toasted oak along with brown sugar - like a brown sugar Pop-Tart. Palate: Vanilla, caramel and light cherry notes, balanced with oak char and brown sugar dusted pie dough. Finish: Long, with fruity cherry wood notes, ending in a dry finish.
Overall: This readily available bourbon (at least on the regular shelf at a large, regional liquor chain) was exceptional. Any more, to find a 12-year bourbon on the regular shelf - and not in a glass case - for $99 - and that tastes as good as it's priced, is incredible. While I'd love to learn more about this one's history, I'm not going to ask too many questions - only answer "yes" when asked if I'd like another pour.