Distillery: Hunt and Gather
Type & Region: Bourbon, Kentucky, USA
Composition: 79% corn, 13% rye, and 8% malted barley
Aged: 15 years
Hunt and Gather 15 Year Bourbon comes from…a company called Hunt and Gather I guess. All I know is that this is a 15 year old Kentucky Bourbon that comes from an experimental Jim Beam mashbill and is 107 proof. This mashbill can also be found in in the 15 year old component of Bardstown Bourbon Company Discovery Series 4, Doc Swinsons 15 Year, and Bull Run 15 Year Single Barrel among others. Regardless of who made the whiskey or who sourced it, higher proof 15 year old Kentucky bourbon will always turn heads given how rare that combination is.
At the end of the day, the company’s background doesn’t matter that much. Rather, the bourbon itself matters the most, so let’s uncover more out about that in this Hunt and Gather 15 Year Bourbon review.
Note: I did a bottle split with some buddies but wasn’t able to get a photo of the bottle (whoops). Let’s just say the bottle was disposed of prematurely before I could take a photo.
Hunt and Gather 15 Year Bourbon is dark and oaky with roasted caramel, burnt vanilla, charred oak, cocoa powder, dried apple and orange, coffee grounds, licorice, clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It’s very oaky, roasty, and spicy like a 14 year old Knob Creek Single Barrel Bourbon, but maybe that’s because I’m biased and I already know that this is some experimental Jim Beam distillate. The heat is also well-controlled.
After swirling, Hunt and Gather is oaky and smoky up front followed by caramel, burnt vanilla, very dried apple and orange, licorice, fennel, hints of brighter berries, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and grassy nuttiness. Let me reiterate this point – this is a very oaky bourbon, but it always remains pleasant. As old as it is though, it still lacks some of the low end roundness and depth from a great older bourbon, and so the oak and spice often sit at the surface and don’t fully capture my attention, which often makes it unbalanced. Hunt and Gather 15 Year is also directionally similar to Remus Repeal 14 Year Bottled in Bond and Woodford Very Fine Rare Bourbon with how fragrantly oaky it is.
Hunt and Gather is oaky and sweet with caramel, roasted vanilla, baked apple, dried orange peel, a lot of roasted oak, dried grass, dried nuts, cinnamon, clove, and coffee grounds with just a little licorice. It’s dry, roasty, and oak-forward very much like a 15 year old bourbon, and the heat isn’t bad at all.
“Chewing” gives me roasted and smoked caramel, coffee grounds, roasted oak, burnt vanilla, dried apple and orange, licorice, fennel, very dark chocolate, hints of tobacco and smoke. All that oakiness really dries out my mouth, and in some ways the flavors remind me of Remus Repeal 14 Year Bottled in Bond, Knob Creek 14 Year Single Barrel Bourbon, and Widow Jane 13 Year Single Barrel Bourbon. I like it, but also pretty one-dimensional because there’s a lot of oak and dryness, and a lot less of everything else to provide a great experience. Don’t get me wrong, a great bourbon doesn’t have to be balanced or bring everything, but it needs at least one standout trait. Hunt and Gather 15 Year Bourbon brings that interesting oakiness from an old bourbon, but more or less stops after that.
To no surprise, Hunt and Gather 15 Year is very oaky, roastey, and dry from oak and coffee grounds with supporting caramel, vanilla, and apple sweetness. It’s strongly tannic, but not quite overpowering, although it’s close. After the finish, I get more roasty, oaky, and smoky traits, supported again with caramel, vanilla, apple, orange peel, licorice, clove, and cocoa powder. It’s very tannic, but doesn’t quite overpower me after a few sips, but I can really feel the dryness and smokiness on my tough. I don’t think I’ve had this experience before, but I bet it would pair great with a cigar.
Hunt and Gather 15 Year Bourbon is a good bourbon that brings a lot of what is great about older bourbon (dark and roasty character), but also remains quite one-dimensional since the oak (and the spice to a lesser degree) overshadows everything else. It’s kind of a novelty to experience a bourbon this old, but doesn’t come close to being as good as other older Kentucky bourbons. The scents are a bit better than the flavors, primarily because the oak is a bit less intense, which allow the fruity and herbal elements to shine a little more. In the flavors, the oak pushes them more to the back without adding enough low end richness or depth. I’ve enjoyed drinking it, but there’s not enough to get it to “Top Shelf”.
So in terms of a recommendation, I don’t recommend this if you’re looking for the next great whiskey to drink. It’s pricey at $100+ and doesn’t bring a high enough level of quality. Sure, this will do the trick if you just want to try something older. If you want something truly excellent, I strongly recommend Bardstown Bourbon Company Discovery Series #4. It’s a blend of 3 Kentucky bourbons, with the same 15 year bourbon making up 37% of it in the blend. That bourbon is amazing.