Review: Penelope Bourbon Batch #2 and Barrel Strength (2019)
It was only in June that we introduced you to Penelope, a new bourbon brand that takes three whiskeys — a rye-mash bourbon, a wheat-mash bourbon, and a “corn bourbon” made from just corn and malted barley — all from MGP, then blends this trio together to make a unique four-grain whiskey. Batch #1 went quickly, and now Batch #2 is here — as is a cask strength version of the product. We nabbed ’em both. Thoughts follow.
Penelope Bourbon Batch #2 – Notes of toasted bread and buttery popcorn are light on the nose, but it’s a distinct peanut butter note that dominates. Notes of rosemary and thyme are evident, along with a fresh-cut wood note. The palate is creamy with notes of vanilla custard and well-integrated oak. There’s more of that roasted peanut character here, along with some hazelnut. On the finish, spice elements emerge more clearly, alongside an applesauce and banana note. As with Batch #1, the whiskey drinks young — though my tasting notes are a bit different (which is understandable since these whiskeys are composed of only 6 barrels per batch). That said, Batch #2 is a clear step up from Batch #1, showcasing a surprising complexity for a young spirit. 80 proof. B+ / $35
Penelope Bourbon Barrel Strength (2019) – Here’s the full proof version of Penelope Bourbon, and as expected it shows off an immediate heat and a much bolder wood impact. Some spice is mixed in with the sawdust, but otherwise it’s quite a bruiser at the start. The palate is spice heavy, with more of the peanut note evident in Batch #2, plus some cinnamon in the mix. An ample, pushy wood character pervades throughout the experience. The finish remains hot and a bit blown-out, making water an essential addition. More than anything, I found this bringing out that peanut note, to the exclusion of most everything else. All told, I didn’t find this a whiskey that benefited much from the higher abv, though more rabid fans of overproof stock may disagree. 116.6 proof. B / $60