Belle Meade Bourbon Madeira PlumpJack Cask
Distilled by MGP & Bottled by Nelson’s Greenbrier Distillery, Nashville, TN
Aged 10 years in new American oak for 10 years | Finished in Madeira Casks
Bottled in November 2018 at 112.7 proof (56.35% ABV)
Just in the nick of time before the end of 2018, our American Whiskey Club selection of 2018 is finally here! We’re excited about everything we bring in but this one is special because of its scarcity. I have been eyeing up a Belle Meade cask for a while now. I’ve always liked the whiskies, but wanted to wait for the right opportunity to feature them in the club. Rather than just featuring the general market releases of their cask finishes, I was determined to procure our own cask. It took about a year of back and forth conversation with their sales director before we were able to make it happen. They don’t do many private casks for accounts, and it turns out they had been burned last year by an San Francisco merchant who ended up not taking the barrel they had committed to earlier. When they first offered PlumpJack a cask, they offered up a non-finished single barrel bourbon. I’m sure it would have been great, but seeing as the juice had been distilled in Indiana at Midwestern Grain Products (MGP) – I wanted to get something that Belle Meade had a hand in creating. I held out and told them to contact me when they had a cask finish become available. When the samples of Sherry and Madeira casks arrived the choice was difficult. Both finishes were delicious but in the end I thought the Madeira cask was a little more unique and unknown for most whiskey drinkers.
Belle Meade bourbon is produced at Nelson’s Greenbrier Distillery in Nashville, TN. It is in a select group of brands that existed a long time ago, then closed, only to be re-opened decades later by family decedents of the original founder. The Belle Meade Plantation was once a world famous horse farm in Tennessee owned by the Sperry Wade & Company. They contracted a man named Charles Nelson to create whiskies for their plantation and it became a huge hit. It was sold from 1878 to 1909, until Tennessee adopted statewide prohibition. In 2006 Charlie and Andy Nelson were inspired to resurrect the brand after visiting a local butcher who pointed out buildings across the street from his shop that had once belonged to the distillery. After taking one sip from the spring water that had once fed into the abandoned still house, they new they were going to be in the whiskey business. They formed the business in 2009 and in 2015 began operating a still house in Nashville.
This barrel of Belle Meade bourbon was aged for just over 10 years in New American oak before being finished in Madeira casks for a few months. The whiskey pours a beautiful golden brown color into the glass. One sniff and you can immediately tell the Madeira influence in the whiskey. Sweet, dried tropical fruits like papaya and mango, burnt caramel, and California golden raisins emerge from the glass. Your first initial sip re-confirms the Madeira influence with more fruit flavors complimented by a dry nutty finish. It’s funky! Big and bold, this full-bodied whiskey goes down really smooth, especially for the higher proof of over 56% ABV. Sipping this straight or with a little water is where the whiskey really shines. Ice will make it down go even quicker but accentuate the dry finish and tone down the sweetness on the attack. It makes a killer old fashioned or boulevardier cocktail, and would be a killer pairing to a cigar if that is your thing. Enjoy!