Taste Test: Penelope’s New Bourbon Shows Why We Need to Stop Finishing Whiskey in Amburana Wood
In the world of spirits, experimentation is often celebrated. From unique ingredients to unconventional barrels, distilleries continuously push the boundaries to create interesting and innovative flavors. However, sometimes these experiments don’t quite hit the mark. This is the case with Penelope’s new bourbon that has been finished in Amburana wood barrels.
The Promising Start
Penelope is known for producing quality bourbons, so when news broke about their latest release with a unique finish, whiskey enthusiasts were intrigued. Amburana wood, also called Brazilian teak, is commonly used in Brazil for aging cachaça, a type of sugarcane spirit. Its sweet and spicy characteristics seemed like a perfect match for bourbon.
The distillery boasted about the smoothness and richness that the Amburana wood finishing process would bring to their bourbon. There was excitement in the air as whiskey connoisseurs eagerly anticipated the release, expecting a new flavor profile that would elevate Penelope’s already impressive lineup.
The Disappointing Reality
However, upon tasting Penelope’s new bourbon, it quickly became apparent that the Amburana wood finish didn’t live up to the hype. The initial sip revealed an overwhelming sweetness that masked the bourbon’s complexity. The spicy notes that were expected from the wood were almost nonexistent, leaving behind a cloying, one-dimensional flavor.
Furthermore, the Amburana wood seemed to overpower the bourbon’s natural characteristics, diminishing its depth and complexity. The oakiness and vanilla notes that bourbon lovers adore were subdued and difficult to detect. It was clear that the Amburana wood had taken center stage, overpowering the bourbon instead of complementing it.
The Importance of Balance
This disappointing outcome serves as a reminder of the importance of balance in the world of whiskey finishing. While experimenting with different types of wood can be exciting, it’s crucial to ensure that the final product maintains a delicate equilibrium between the original spirit and the finishing element. The wood should enhance and elevate the whiskey’s flavors, rather than dominate them.
Whiskey enthusiasts appreciate the complexity and nuance that comes from a well-balanced spirit. The combination of the base spirit’s unique characteristics with the subtle influences from the finishing wood is what creates a truly great whiskey. Anything that disrupts this harmony detracts from the overall experience and leaves the drinker disappointed.
The Future of Finishing
Moving forward, distilleries should take this unfortunate outcome as a valuable lesson. Experimentation is essential, but it should never come at the expense of the whiskey’s integrity and balance. When choosing wood barrels for finishing, distillers must consider how the flavors will interact and contribute to the final product.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that not all experiments will be successful. The world of spirits is filled with both triumphs and failures, and it’s through these experiences that distillers and enthusiasts continue to learn and grow. While Penelope’s venture into Amburana wood finishing may not have hit the mark, it serves as a reminder to prioritize balance and harmony in the pursuit of exceptional whiskey.