Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon Review [In Depth]

Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon

Alex author
Founder, writer
fireside straight bourbon header

Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon Details

Distillery: Mile High Spirits

Type & Region: Bourbon, Colorado, USA

Alcohol: 68.5%

Composition: 100% malted barley

Aged: 6 years

Color: 1.6/2.0 on the color scale (mahogany, henna notes)

Price: $60-65

From the company website:

It’s not everyday you meet a whiskey so warmly welcomed by cowboys and aficionados alike. A bourbon created to be as comfortable around the campfire as it is confident on the judges’ table, the spirit of Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey comes from the quality of its ingredients and the dedication of a small team of expert craftsman.
Each batch begins with Rocky Mountain water, Colorado corn, spicy rye, and chocolatey barley, distilled in our German copper still. Every drop is then carefully aged in white oak barrels in our Denver rack house. This delicately engineered process is what gives each barrel it’s complex flavor profile, and when we tried this one, we liked her right off the bat. Our 6-year, single barrel, cask strength bourbon clocks in at a whopping 137 proof, for a high heat yet highly drinkable craft bourbon.

suntory hakushu whiskey overview

Mile High Spirits and their Fireside brand of whiskeys is still relatively new to me (plus it’s not actually sold anywhere near where I live), but I’ve learned a lot about them recently as I reviewed some of their bourbons.
Mile High Spirits is a Denver, Colorado-based distillery that was founded in 2011, and at least as-of this review, availability is still concentrated in Colorado and maybe a handful of other states. Nonetheless, I got some bottles to try, and I’m excited to try some new stuff.
Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon is their homemade, meaning distilled and aged, 6 year old single barrel rye’d bourbon. This is barrel 18e10 br. 77 (whatever that means), which clocks in at a whopping 68.5% ABV. DAAAAAANG!!! I haven’t been to Denver, but apparently it’s quite dry when it’s not snowing, which leads to more evaporation and higher ABV in the barrel. They even have a one-off hazmat (meaning >= 70% ABV) bottle release.
Not only that, they have quite a few well-aged 5-6 year old bourbons, including a single barrel Port cask-finished bourbon (it’s actually finished in Australian Tawny, which is very similar to Port) and a 5-6 year old single barrel wheated bourbon.
Let’s uncover what high-octane bourbon is coming out of Colorado in this Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon review.
fireside straight bourbon back
q? encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B003VAWA68&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format= SL250 &tag=thewhiskeyshe 20

As an FYI, I bought and use these Glencairn glasses for everything (they’re the best): Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Glass Set of 6, Set of 4Set of 2, or just one. Full transparency, this is an affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.

suntory hakushu whiskey smell

Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon starts has dessert-y dark caramel and maple syrup, chocolate fudge, dried cherry, roasted oak, cinnamon, candied pecans, orange peel, red apple, licorice, floral notes, ginger, and a little earthy caraway seed and pine.
Right out of the gate, Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon smells fantastic. It smells rich, decadent, sweet, fruity, and developed. I am really surprised. For 68.5% ABV, the heat is very well controlled and stays out of the way.
After swirling I smell dense honey, dried cherry and apricot, white chocolate, vanilla, roasted oak, lime peel, cinnamon, chocolate fudge, ginger, and a hint of eucalyptus and caraway seed. Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon changes a lot after swirling, not as dark and heavy as before, which is not a bad thing at all. There’s still this great dance between sweetness, fruitiness, and oak that impresses my grumpy self.
The scents are complex and very mature. This could be a 10 year old bourbon. Sure, the heat is a little bit rowdy, it is 68% ABV still, but it calms down after 15-17 minutes. I recommend that you take smaller sniffs because the heat still can kick a little.
Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon flat out smells amazing, it really does. This is one of the better smelling bourbons I’ve had lately.
fireside straight bourbon front

suntory hakushu whiskey taste and aftertaste

The flavors start with caramel, roasted pecans, roasted oak, earthy pine and eucalyptus, vanilla, cinnamon, dried cherry, orange peel, caraway seed, and licorice. The flavors are still nice, but they’re nowhere near as decadent, refined, and layered as the scents are.
They’re more punchy and simple with more earthy, botanical, and herbal eucalyptus, and less decadent fruit and chocolate. The earthiness and botanical-ness remind me of gin, but this has a lot more dark sweetness and other stuff going on.
This would have been so much better if the flavors were like the scents, but it’s still enjoyable. I just wouldn’t say that it’s my preferred profile (but the scents are). I miss the fudge notes from the scents already.
There’s little more bite too, but it’s still manageable even though it’s near hazmat
After “chewing” I taste honey, dried cherry, eucalyptus, pine, roasted oak, caraway seed, vanilla, lemon peel, cinnamon, and licorice. It’s very oily and botanical, the last part being like gin. There’s a little bit more bite too. It’s manageable, but the higher ABV is more apparent.
Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon has good richness, but it can be a little bit muddled. It’s not a flabby blob, but it’s not as well defined as the scents are.
The finish starts with caramel, licorice, eucalyptus, roasted oak, cinnamon, dried orange peel, and gin botanicals. Unlike the scents and the flavors somewhat, the finish is more earthy, herbal, and gin-like.
After “chewing” it leaves honey, eucalyptus, caraway seed, dried cherry, roasted oak, cinnamon, and nutmeg with lingering oils, honey, eucalyptus, and nutmeg.
Unfortunately, the flavors lose so much nuance and complexity compared to the scents. The herbal, earthy, and botanical traits are stronger than I’d like, getting in the way of the fruit and overall nuance. It could have been so much more, although I don’t know what they could have done to realize it’s full potential.
Maybe it’s by design, but I personally wish that Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon was less earthy and gin-like, and more fruity and chocolatey. There’s a budding masterpiece hiding in here somewhere, but maybe it’s hidden in a different barrel.

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B016YPDI3A&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=thewhiskeyshe 20&language=en USir?t=thewhiskeyshe 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B016YPDI3A

I’ve unfortunately lost some Glencairn’s while in transit, and that made me very sad. So, I wised up and bought this Glencairn Travel Case that comes also comes with 2 glasses so I don’t need to worry so much about them breaking. I think it’s great, and I think you’ll love it too.

Seriously, if you already have glasses, protect them.

Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon Rating

Mid shelf+
I am so conflicted with Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon. On one hand, I’m impressed with how it smells so layered, complex, and varied. The scents are mature beyond its years, and I want Mile High Spirits to keep capturing that magic for the future. It would be a strong “Top Shelf” bourbon if it tasted like it smelled. Unfortunately, it doesn’t taste nearly as good as it smells, and that bums me out because I know how incredible this could be.
The flavors are still good and I enjoy them, but it’s jarring to go from the scents to the flavors. It loses a meaningful amount of fruit, chocolate, and overall depth, taken over by far more earthy and botanical flavors. It’s a bit too earthy and botanical for my liking, and it’s hard to say if that’s just the base profile for their bourbons, or just this particular barrel.
Who knows, maybe that’s how their bourbon is. But you know what, nothing’s off or unpleasant, and the heat generally stays out of the way. I hope that they have some barrels that taste like how this one smells, because sign me up. Regardless, I can smell and taste the great work that they’re doing.
Who knows, maybe that’s how their bourbon is. But you know what, nothing’s off or unpleasant, and the heat generally stays out of the way. I hope that they have some barrels that taste like how this one smells, because sign me up. Regardless, I can smell and taste the great work that they’re doing.
If you want a taste of Colorado, then yes I think that Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon is worth considering…as long as you’re OK with a bourbon that slightly tastes like gin. The $60ish price point is also pretty good too, so it’s not too painful of a buy if it turns out that it’s not for you.
Having had the Single Barrel Bourbon, Single Barrel Wheated Bourbon, and Single Barrel Port Finished Bourbon (it’s actually finished in Australian Tawny that like Port), I think the Port Finished Bourbon is the clear winner overall. The scents may come in 2nd place, but the flavors are by and far the most pleasant.
I won’t say that you should rush out to get one, but it’s something different to try that I think you’ll enjoy.
Alex author
Meet the Author: Alex

I have far too much fun writing about whiskey and singlehandedly running The Whiskey Shelf to bring you independent, honest, and useful reviews, comparisons, and more. I’m proudly Asian American and can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some Japanese.

There are no sponsors, no media companies, and no nonsense. Support The Whiskey Shelf by Buying Me A Shot.
q? encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07GL6Z1X3&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format= SL250 &tag=thewhiskeyshe 20

Shattered glass really sucks, so if you’re on the move, this Glencairn-like stainless steel snifter glass should survive your travels. Full transparency, this is an Amazon affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.

BrüMate NOS’R, Double-Wall Stainless Steel Whiskey Nosing Glass – 7oz (Matte Black)