Yellowstone Limited Edition 2016

The 2015 Yellowstone Limited Edition Bourbon Whiskey is an "ultra-premium" bourbon, a combination of undisclosed 7-year-old wheated bourbon, 7-year-old rye bourbon, and 12-year-old rye bourbon. Steve Beam, the president and distiller at Limestone Branch Distillery, worked with St. Louis based Luxco to select and blend high quality barrels for a special release that they have called "the return of Yellowstone." Only 6,000 bottles were produced.

Yellowstone Bourbon has been around since the 1870's, since shortly after the establishment of the national park. Created by the wholesale firm of Taylor & Williams, the brand has gone through many ownership changes. In 1910, when Minor Case Beam sold his Old Trump Distillery to J.B. Dant, the Dant family renamed its entire operation Yellowstone, as the brand had become quite popular. The bourbon was produced by the Dants under the supervision of several Beam distillers in Nelson County, KY until Prohibition. 

Following repeal, Yellowstone picked up where it left off. It was the best selling bourbon in Kentucky by 20% throughout the 1960s according to United Distillers archives (a prior version of this post misstated that Yellowstone "staggered through the 50s, 60s, and 70s"). Eventually, however, a plummet in whiskey interest damaged the brand, along with the entire industry, and Yellowstone closed in 1991. Heaven Hill acquired the brand in 1993 and sold it to David Sherman (Luxco) who began sourcing low quality bourbon for the brand which hovered on the bottom shelf until now.

This year, Luxco acquired a 50% stake in Steve and Paul Beam's Limestone Branch Distillery, and the company took advantage of the historical Beam connection and the bourbon craze. This limited edition "throwback" release is bottled at 105 proof, a nod to the 105 years that have passed since MC Beam sold his distillery to the Dants.

Yellowstone Limited Edition

Owned by Luxco/Produced by Unknown/Bottled by Limestone Branch Distillery
105 proof
$105 at Liquor Barn in Lexington, KY

Color: Rich, dark amber.

Nose: Classic brown sugar bomb. Caramel, vanilla, caramelized orange peel, burnt sugars, wet oak. Quite delicious. 

Tasting Notes: The entrance prickles with baking spices and heat. My first impression was that the flavor was slightly metallic, but it's just a flash. Mid-sip, I get some sweetness in the form of caramel and corn, but stronger notes of oak, leather, black pepper, and alcohol power through a dry finish.

Overall: B. Yellowstone is a big, heavy, hot whiskey. While it is full bodied and bold, it's certainly not a perfectly balanced bourbon. I look forward to letting it breath and sipping  on it this winter.

Peer reviews: