Old Elk Single Barrel Bourbon – JJ’s 2nd Edition
We all have our strong suits when it comes to picking whiskies. We all bring something different to the table when doing a selection based on what we like to drink ourselves, or what we like to recommend to our customers. Joe loves Old Elk Bourbon. I like Old Elk Bourbon. I don’t love Old Elk Bourbon because they are what we call a rectifier. Meaning, they buy aged barrels and then sell them as their own or finish them in what are referred to as “finish barrels” to present some additional level of flavor profile.
That being said, Old Elk is one of the best rectifiers in the game. Along with brands like Barrell Craft Spirits, Backbone and handful of others, Old Elk sets themselves apart by finding barrels that work extremely well with their process or are just really good to begin with and then let the cool mountain air of Northern Colorado do the rest of the work. That is the case with this particular bourbon.
This selection was done at JJ’s with a sample kit. It’s not our favorite method of selecting barrels, but it does give more of my team an opportunity to participate and offer their opinion. That being said, Joe is the master of Old Elk bourbons, so he had final say on this one, and I think we nailed it pretty good. Serendipitously, this selection was made on 12/2/2021, exactly one year ago today. I only realized this just this morning when writing this blog post. Be on the lookout for Old Elk Single Barrel 3rd Edition coming soon! This was an on-site selection by Joe and his think tank in Fort Collins.
- Name: Old Elk Bourbon – JJ’s Single Barrel 2nd Edition
- Country of Origin/Locale: Fort Collins, Colorado/Lawrenceburg, Indiana
- Proof: 120.3
- Glass: Double Old Fashioned or Glencairn
- Temperature: Room, or slightly chilled, Little bit of ice
- Cocktail Options: Makes an EXCELLENT Old Fashioned, as long as you use JJ’s recipe… See below
- Available: Yes. But you have to ask Joe. This is one of his babies and we don’t have much left.
- Price: List Price – $74.99 JJ’s VIP Price – $59.99
Tom’s Tasting Notes: It is well known that I am not the biggest fan of rectified whiskies. That being said, I think what they are doing at Old Elk is pretty remarkable. They let the barrels do the talking. Especially in this case as there is no finish barrel. Sweet, spicy and loaded up with caramel on the nose. The palate is spicy and drawn out with a luscious mouthfeel and a hint of sweet, dark fruit. Nice work team.
JJ’s 3.0ld Fashioned Recipe – Shhhh it’s a secret (not really)
This drink is our number one selling drink at JJ’s Bar. We only use single barrel bourbon products, our own bourbon barrel aged maple syrup and a house blend of bitters. You really can’t make it at home, but you can get close…
- If using a high proof spirit (North of 100), use 2oz. of bourbon. If using a low proof bourbon (under 100), use 2.5oz. of bourbon. I don’t recommend the latter.
- 2 Teaspoons of JJ’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup – Our current batch was aged in the Old Elk barrel above
- 1 Dash of Orange Bitters, and One Dash of a barrel aged bitters (Fee Brothers)
- One orange peel
Stir all of the ingredients in a mixing glass. At JJ’s Bar, we stir 35 times. Don’t ask me why. Strain over a large cube in a Double Old-Fashioned Glass, then garnish with the orange peel. If you want a cherry in your drink, make a Manhattan.
I guessed this pour at around 100pf. I couldn’t believe when I looked at this that it came in so high. While enjoyable, this wasn’t for me. On the nose I got banana laffy taffy and I couldn’t get it out of my head. It was a single tasting note that hit me like a hammer, repeatedly, until it was gone.