I first taste a splash of honey, cherry, citrus, dried apple, and marshmallow followed by a lot of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, then roasted oak. There really is a lot of cherry, orange, and apple fruitiness as well as ample wood spices that provide a lot of flavor but no bite or harshness. The flavors are so rich and round at 107 proof, yet the heat is so calm. I do taste a gentle breadiness that probably comes from the wheat, but it doesn’t taste young at all. Can I have some more please?
“Chewing” blasts my mouth with a ton of honey, vanilla, orange, and cherry followed a lot of gentle yet delicious cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and oak. There’s a lot of spices and oak, but it’s not spicy, biting, or unpleasantly burnt. At times I even get hints of real maple syrup and caramel nougat that almost make me think cinnamon bun. Flavor-wise, that’s really it; Old Rip Van Winkle doesn’t have the widest range of flavors, but what is there is very concentrated and flavorful. There’s also so little burn that it’s shocking – drinking far lighter than 107 proof and making it nearly effortless to let it sit in my mouth and savor. Barrel selection and blending were done well to create an excellent wheated bourbon.
The gentleness deliciousness continues in the finish with honey, orange, cherry, oak tannins, and malted grains. “Chewing” leaves similar honey, orange, cherry, clove and oak tannin notes. It quickly tapers-off, leaving faint lingering oak tannins and cinnamon, as well as a light gumminess and oiliness probably from the wheat. The finish is not that long or noteworthy, but that’s not a big deal to me. I choose not to over-index on finish.