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Very Olde St. Nick, 12 Years Old, Ancient Cask, 45% abv.


Very Olde St. Nick 12 Ancient Cask, 45% abv.

The Very Olde St. Nick bourbon label is a little mysterious, as some say it was bottled by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers (KBD), while others say it was bottled by Julian Van Winkle. Apparently, they are both right. The common Japanese bartender description, as well as postings from Julian Van Winkle, was that Julian sourced/provided the juice and bottled them in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and is indicated on the older labels. These bottlings were for a private distributor. After running out of old bourbon, operations transferred to Even Kulsveen of KBD who started bottling it using Heaven Hill juice out of Bardstown, Kentucky, and the Lawrenceburg city name was no longer on the labels... for most versions. Like many older and amazing KBD Willett bottlings, the Very Old St. Nick brand was soley released in Japan many years ago since Japan was the only market interested in aged bourbons at that time... and had money to spend. I suspect operations went to KBD based on relationships and funding more than just "running out of juice", but I'll never know for certain. Gotta hand it to KBD, they know how to survive and have proven they are one of the best at picking barrels. Now the Very Olde St. Nick brand is owned and operated by a different company not related to the Winkles or KBD, and apparently younger juice.

Nose: grapes, ginger, I swear this is a nice scotch.
Palate: very light bourbon flavors, more on the light sweet oak side, cool mouthfeel.
Finish: very short, no smoke, no fruits, no wood, almost non-existent.

The nose was the most interesting, while all the other aspects weren't really there... if it was a "real" bourbon. Could not tell it was a bourbon at all. I'd believe it if someone said its a scotch attempting to be a bourbon. Reminds me of old Stitzel-Weller juice (i.e. in between a light bourbon and a light scotch, slightly balanced, cool mouthfeel, light finish).
#starvinggigoloheavenhill #starvinggigoloveryoldestnick
Grade: B


Image courtesy of Eric Yee.


Eric Yee

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