Review: Gold Bar Whiskey
One of the strangest spirits I’ve seen this year, Gold Bar whiskey’s oddities start with the packaging. It’s packaged inside a replica of a gold bar (complete with a base that makes the whole thing akimbo), a nod to founder Elliott Gillespie’s acknowledgement that he’d need a few real gold bars to get into the booze business.
Well, I guess he got ’em, and then Gillespie acquired some sourced whiskey from various distilleries in Texas, Indiana, and Kentucky. (The final mashbill is 88% corn, 9% rye, and 3% barley, but this is technically not a bourbon.) The blend is then finished in French Oak cabernet sauvignon wine casks in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are no age statements for any of this.
So what’s the gold bar experience like? With a nod to its similarly ostentatious forebear Trump Vodka, let’s dive in.
The nose is quite bizarre. I get fresh cedar tree, clove, green onion, and tanned leather, all whipped up into a sharp, spicy package — and evocative of a youthful, rustic spirit. The palate is more engaging and forgiving, spicy, heavy on the toasted cereal, and quite wood-forward, but tempered by sweetness, with a gingersnap-meets-cinnamon-toast character that coaxes the more savory elements into settling down a bit. The finish is rather chewy and doughy, scattered as it hints at all that’s come before, but ultimately settling on a reprise of cereal notes and echoes of well-toasted bread.
Really, really weird stuff.
C+ / $45 / goldbarwhiskey.com