Old Soul 13-Year
A dear friend shared this bottle with me recently to celebrate the end of one career, and the beginning of another. Not much is known about Old Soul 13-Year Bourbon. Suffice it to say, however, there is not only good bourbon out there - there is truly great bourbon out there waiting to be discovered.
In the award-winning HBO Series The Newsroom, bourbon-drinking producer Charlie Skinner (played by Sam Waterson) shares a story of his VietNam wartime experiences.
Charlie Skinner: I was in a bar in Da Nang...
Will McAvoy: Just now?
Charlie Skinner: 1969. I was embedded with the 144th Artillery for UPI, and I was sitting there with a warm Coke watching a beautiful Vietnamese woman doing an exotic dance right in the middle of everybody. A beautiful, beautiful woman, and I thought to myself "I will never know what it is to be with a woman like that." And at that exact moment, the woman spun twice, teetered over, and fell right into my lap. That's how sometimes, something good falls right in your lap.
So it is with Old Soul. I was just sitting there and something incredibly good fell right into my lap.
Mississippi's Oldest Distillery
Old Soul is a sourced Kentucky straight bourbon bottled by the Cathead Distillery - Mississippi's oldest distillery. Labeled DSR-MS-001, Cathead began when friends and blues fans Austin Evans and Richard Patrick joined forces in 2010 to create a facility for clients to enjoy spirits and live music. The distillery takes its name from a term that blues musicians use as a nod to artists they respect.
The distillery moved to downtown Jackson, Mississippi in 2015. Master Distiller Phillip Ladner oversees production of vodka, gin, chicory liquor, as well as the namesake Old Soul Bourbon Whiskey. Cathead released a 2020 special release; the 2021 special release is listed as an undisclosed, sourced Kentucky bourbon.
Many new bourbons arriving on the scene today come with scant background, often with a story of a handed-down-recipe, and even thinner story of what's in the bottle itself. Old Soul provided refreshing transparency on its label adorning a tall, wine-like bottle.
The 2021 rare and limited release is a 13 year, 6 month, and 16 day bourbon. The mash bill is 74% corn, 18% rye, and 8% malted barley. It was placed in #3 charred new oak barrels in June 2007 at 125 proof. Barrels were dumped in December 2020 and were not chill-filtered. Bottles were proofed at 99 proof and released in early 2021.
Eye: Dark amber. This has spent some serious time and temperature variations in the barrel.
Nose: Very gentle, with vanilla-bean custard dusted with nutmeg and drizzled with warm honey. A couple of drops of water opens up even more of the custard-like notes.
Palate: Spice and light oak are felt immediately with a Pop Rocks sensation on the tip of my tongue, followed quickly by a vanilla bomb and burst of butterscotch hard candy. The non-chill filtration provides a thick and creamy mouthfeel
Finish: Long, with gentle spice and oak balanced with honey and brown sugar.
Overall: This special release is a very good bourbon. It is incredibly smooth and easy-drinking, while being balanced and layered with flavor. While the producer of this bourbon remains anonymous, it's good to see that there is some great, long-aged bourbon still out there waiting to be discovered.
A local big box liquor store carried this release in their display case for $125. Quite honestly, that's a great deal for a long-aged bourbon that wasn't marked-up. And a sincere nod to Cathead Distillery for sourcing an outstanding limited release and sharing all the details, including exact age and components of the mash bill. I'll be keeping an eye out for your next release!