Tasting Notes On The Highest Scoring Bourbon Whiskey In The 2021 International Wine & Spirits Competition

Redemption Bourbon is sourcing and blending some of the best bourbons on the shelf today. That fact was just reaffirmed by two of their bourbons taking home top honors at the world’s largest spirits awards, the 2021 International Wine & Spirits Competition.

Redemption’s 9-year Barrel Proof Bourbon took home a “Gold Outstanding” medal. According to the judges at the competition this year, that whiskey scored at least 98/100 points. That alone is enough to give Master Blender Dave Carpenter and the whole crew over at Redemption cause to celebrate.

The cherry on top was that their 10-year Barrel Proof High Rye Bourbon took home the top award as both the highest-scoring bourbon (99/100) and top-rated American whiskey this year. And that’s the expression we’re talking about today. We’ll get all 16 winners a little later this week.

I was lucky enough to taste this bourbon whiskey with Carpenter a few short months ago and have been enjoying this expression quite a bit since then. Make sure to click on the price if you want to give this one a whirl too.

Redemption 10 Year Barrel Proof High Rye Bourbon

Redemption Bourbon

ABV: 57.2%

Average Price: $100

The Whiskey:

Redemption has a knack for sourcing some of the best barrels from MGP in Indiana. This multi-award-winning bourbon starts off with a base mash bill of 60 percent corn, 36 percent rye, and four percent barley. After ten years of maturation, the barrels are expertly vatted to make a highly sippable bourbon experience. That marriage of bourbons then goes into the bottle — uncut and unfiltered.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a woody vanilla and floral honey vibe on the nose with a touch of almost burnt toffee and worn leather. Espresso beans mix with a dab of smoky bacon fat that leads towards a slightly bitter black peppercorn. Slight creamy vanilla leads towards a hint of soft cherry sweetness as the pepperiness edges towards lemon pepper soaked in honey, with a slight note of green reeds at the end. The finish dries out and amps up the spiciness as a hint of dark chocolate lingers on the very end.

The Bottle:

Redemption uses pretty unique bottles. The squat glass bottles feel bespoke and have a serious heft to them. The cork is held in with a bit of twine, which is a nice touch. Overall, this is a handsome bottle that stands out on any bar cart.

Bottom Line:

Although this didn’t win our Barrel Proof blind taste test, I did have this to say about this one. “This was subtle and nice. In fact, I’ve dipped into this one quite a bit over the months. That being said, it didn’t quite hit the heights I thought it would against this line-up. Which is fine — it still tasted pretty damn great.”

Tasting it again today and I stand by that. This is a great sip that never disappoints. It’s subtle, full of classic high-rye bourbon notes, and really easy to sip neat.


95/100 — Yeah, this is pretty great, though I clearly differ with the IWSC judges a little. It’s complex while still being understandable. All in all, it’s easy to see why folks dig this one so much.

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