Distillery: Redemption (sourced from MGP)
Type & Region: Bourbon, Indiana, USA
Composition: 60% corn, 36% rye, 4% barley
Aged: 10 years
From the company website:
“Our award-winning 10-Year-Old High Rye Bourbon is almost as stunning to look at as it is to drink. Dark gold with flecks of crimson, it’s a warm invitation to a unique whiskey experience. While bottled at barrel proof, you’ll find it remains impressively smooth throughout.”
At face value, not knowing how the whiskey smells or tastes, there’s something oddly undervalued about Redemption 10 Year Bourbon. It’s a 10 year old and cask strength / barrel proof bourbon from our wildly popular friends at MGP in Indiana that I can still find on the shelf in mid-2021. This is the same distillery that provided the highly sought-after 10+ year old bourbon for Smooth Ambler, Boone County, Belle Meade, OKI, and many more. Now a days, we’re primarily seeing a flood of 4-6 year old MGP bourbon (with Remus Repeal directly from MGP being the exception). I’m puzzled as to why this 10 year bourbon hasn’t flown off the shelves, but I’ll find out in this review. It could be a trap.
Based on my quick internet research, my best guess is that this 57.2% ABV batch 2 came out in late 2017 or early 2018, but I could be wrong since Redemption hasn’t replied to my inquiry to clarify the release date. In this Redemption 10 Year Bourbon Review, let’s find out if you should continue to leave this bottle on the shelf or go out to get it now.
Dark and rich caramel, vanilla, and cherry are up front, then dense baked apple coated in cinnamon, roasted oak, nutmeg, dark chocolate, clove, fennel, and some tobacco and freshly sawn oak. Redemption 10 Year Bourbon smells so… “wow, fantastic” with all those bold, round, lively, and captivating scents. There’s a lot of dried apple and cherry, but it’s not as herbal or earthy as other MGP bourbons tend to be given the higher rye content in the mashbill. While it starts very dark and sweet, the fruit and herbalness come out a little more over time, giving me a constantly evolving experience. After 40 minutes of rest, there isn’t much heat either.
After swirling and some rest, Redemption 10 Year Bourbon has fragrant and dense caramel, freshly squeezed orange, toasted vanilla cream, baked apples, cinnamon, clove, fennel, roasted oak, tobacco, hints of dried berries, and candied pineapple. It’s rich, mature, lively, captivating, and just wow, with a more delicate herbal side that still shows up behind the intense sweetness and oakiness. The fragrant oak and tobacco that grows over time really seals the deal that this smells amazing. This bourbon keeps getting better over time, and the empty glass also smells absolutely heavenly.
The first sip brings a blast of caramel, vanilla, roasted oak, apple, dried orange peel, licorice, tobacco, cinnamon, clove, dark chocolate, and coffee grounds. The flavors are dense and all that maturation really comes through in how sweet, fruity, spicy, and oaky it is, although it’s not overoaked. My one small complaint is that I wish it had more dark fruit (e.g., blueberry, raspberry) as that’s probably my favorite trait in bourbon (found in the Widow Jane 12 Year Single Barrel bourbon I reviewed), but nonetheless Redemption 10 Year Bourbon is superb.
“Chewing” brings more viscous caramel, vanilla, baked apple, orange peel, licorice, fennel, dark chocolate, roasted oak, dried berries, cinnamon, clove, and tobacco. Whoa, this is a flavorful, rich, delicious, and yummy bourbon with tons of caramel, vanilla, and oak, but also plenty of supporting fruitiness (especially baked apple), with some of the herbal and earthiness towards the end (but not so herbal or earthy for an MGP bourbon). There’s a lot of definition and maturity between everything and doesn’t taste like a jumbled mess like Elijah Craig Barrel Proof C919 does. Sure, there’s still some kick from the ABV, but holy moly this is delicious and truly special.
The finish has dark chocolate, roasted oak, vanilla, honey, fennel, thyme, coffee grounds, hint of smoke. It’s dark, oaky, rich, and heavy at first, and over times becomes lightly sweet with honey and fennel, brightening up the finish. After “chewing”, I get a slightly tingly sensation, caramel, vanilla, baked apple, roasted oak, cinnamon, fennel, dark chocolate, and tobacco. It starts dark, oaky, and sweet, then after a while turns into candied pineapple. Even after walking away, the finish keeps going like an Ironman triathlon. What a spectacular way to conclude Redemption 10 Year Bourbon.
Redemption 10 Year Bourbon is a superb caramel and vanilla bomb that deftly outdoes other excellent bourbons such as Elijah Craig Barrel Proof and Stagg Jr Batch 14, making it one of the best un-finished bourbons I’ve had in a while. It even outdoes MGP’s own Remus Volstead 14 Year Old Bottled in Bond at 2x the price. Redemption 10 Year Bourbon expertly juggles all the rich and decadent sugary, fruity, oaky, spicy, and herbal traits into an incredibly decadent and powerful, yet refined package that keeps evolving over time, pulling me in deeper and deeper. I can’t help but want more. This takes MGP bourbon, and even bourbon in general, to another level that I don’t find very often.
I don’t know if and when Redemption might release more batches, although I think there may be a newer batch at 57.4% ABV, but there’s no way a bourbon this incredible still sits on the shelves right? This is a “Top Shelf+” bourbon I can go out and buy right now (a miracle), so I did myself a favor and bought one more bottle. My inner whiskey hoarder doesn’t want you to know how incredible this bourbon is. Purely for editorial purposes, I have to tell you that Redemption 10 Year Bourbon is easily worth the ~$100 price if you can afford it. It’s also worth being that once in a while splurge bottle.