Stellum Bourbon is a new bourbon from some of the best blenders in the game. The juice is sourced by Joe Beatrice and the team behind the much-lauded and beloved Barrell Craft Spirit whiskeys. We’re big fans of Barrell’s drops around these parts, so when we found out that the same folks were releasing an accessible standard to compete with mainstream bottles, we were pretty excited.
What’s interesting about this release is that it’s meant to be a bottle you reach for every day. Whereas the rest of Barrell’s drops are special one-offs that you cherish (until they’re empty), this is more of a workhorse for sipping, mixing, and enjoying. So that’s how we’re judging it. We’re not going to think about this in relation to some limited-edition rarity but the whiskey you get for your everyday pours.
Let’s get into it! Click on the price to try this one yourself.
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Average Price: $55
Stellum Bourbon is the new kid on the block. The juice in that bottle is a cask-strength blend of whiskeys from Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. This whiskey is all about the blending process that Stellum employs to make this special and award-winning juice. Basically, the process is a sort of hybrid reverse solera technique where the blend gets more juice to keep the proof high and the blend consistent in flavor as the batch is drained off. It’s a delicate balance of mixing great whiskeys to make something better than the individual parts.
The nose is a holiday cake with fatty nuts next to woody spice barks — think anise, clove, and cinnamon — with a nice dose of dried red fruits and honey-dipped over-ripe Granny Smith apples. The palate edges away from the spice towards a powdered sugar sweetness with a hint of dry vanilla. Then a counterpoint bursts onto the scene with a hit of spicy, dried chili pepper flakes next to blackberry pie with a nice dose of cinnamon and nutmeg. The end lingers for just the right amount of time as the spice fades back towards the honeyed sweetness and a final touch of vanilla tobacco buzz lands in the back of the throat.
The bottle grabs your attention immediately by having a super low-key design in a classic wine bottle. This really is elegant, with a label that doesn’t overwhelm (at all) with too much information. Instead, you have a subtle and sleek bottle for your bar cart.
92/100 — For a workhorse whiskey, this is stellar. I kind of forget that this is meant to be mixed and played with and just end up drinking it on the rocks as a sipper. When taken in the context of being an “everyday pour,” I really can’t find too many faults.
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