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Burning Chair Bourbon: A Must-Try for Any Bourbon Lover

thewhiskylady - 2023-06-16
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I recently came across a bourbon that has been getting some attention in the whiskey world – Burning Chair Bourbon. During my exploration of Burning Chair Bourbon, I found various reviews and opinions regarding its overall taste and enjoyment. Some enthusiasts praised its sweet and fruity notes, while others appreciated the hints of wine influence. Overall, it appears that Burning Chair Bourbon offers a unique and satisfying experience for those looking to explore the vast and complex world of whiskey.

Burning Chair Bourbonphoto credit:

Burning Chair Bourbon Overview

Product History

The Burning Chair Bourbon, which has quickly garnered attention and positive reviews, is the creation of Dave Phinney, a renowned winemaker from Napa Valley. Phinney’s brand Savage & Cooke focuses on producing whiskies, with The Burning Chair being their signature bourbon. This unique product is made from a blend of bourbons distilled in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Each batch is aged for a minimum of 4 years in new, American oak barrels before being finished in cabernet barrels from Napa Valley.

Price Range

The Burning Chair Bourbon is priced around $50-$70, which makes it a fairly accessible option for those interested in exploring this flavorful spirit. Often praised for its distinctive Napa Valley touch, the whiskey offers excellent value for the price.

Tasting Notes


When I first took a whiff of the Burning Chair Bourbon, I was greeted by a delightful blend of sweet and fruity aromas. The nose starts with big, sweet red fruits with a hint of fresh-cut pink flowers. There’s an intense and aromatically intriguing red wine influence, along with notes of apple, raspberry jam, and praline.


As I tasted the bourbon, I was taken on an enjoyable journey through a medley of flavors. The palate unveiled a delightful mix of caramel and toasted oak, along with hints of vanilla bean, brown sugar, and delicious baked apples. The whiskey’s sweetness is well-balanced by the spiciness and warmth from its rye element, and I could also pick up soft notes of butterscotch, tobacco, and milk chocolate.


The finish of the Burning Chair Bourbon is smooth and satisfying. The dominant flavors of sweet maple and honey linger on the palate, accompanied by a touch of hazelnut, pepper, and a subtle wood element. The bourbon’s 44% ABV, or 88 proof, provides just the right amount of warmth throughout the experience, and I also detected traces of strawberry and barrel char as the finish gradually faded away.


Based on my tasting experience, I would give the Burning Chair Bourbon a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars. I think it’s a good bourbon, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype for me. While I appreciated its unique flavor profile and smooth finish, I am not sure if it’s a repeat purchase for me.

Mixing and Pairing

Best Mixers

As someone who enjoys a glass of Burning Chair Bourbon, I can attest to its lush flavor profile derived from the Napa Valley wine barrel finishing process. This contributes to a smooth and sweet taste, making it versatile for a variety of cocktail mixers. Some of my personal favorite mixers to use with Burning Chair Bourbon are:

  • Ginger ale: Complements the sweet notes while adding a spark of effervescence and spice.
  • Club soda: Enhances the smoothness of the bourbon, making it even more refreshing.
  • Sweet vermouth: Creates a nice balance with the wine barrel finishing, elevating the bourbon’s fruitiness.

Cocktail Suggestions

Cocktail Suggestionsphoto credit:

Given Burning Chair Bourbon’s smoothness and sweet flavor profile, it lends itself well to various cocktails. Here are a couple of recipes I enjoy:

  • Bourbon Old Fashioned: Muddle a sugar cube with a few dashes of bitters, then add 2 oz of Burning Chair Bourbon and a splash of water. Stir well and garnish with an orange twist and a cherry.
  • Napa Manhattan: Combine 2 oz of Burning Chair Bourbon, 1 oz of sweet vermouth, and a dash of bitters. Stir well, strain into a chilled glass, and garnish with a cherry.

Food Pairings

The Burning Chair Food Pairingsphoto credit:

When it comes to food pairings, Burning Chair Bourbon’s smooth and sweet character allows for a wide range of possibilities. Some food pairings I find particularly delightful include:

  • Aged cheddar cheese: The sharpness of the cheese contrasts with the bourbon’s sweetness, creating a harmonious combination.
  • Dark chocolate: The bourbon’s wine barrel finishing enhances the rich flavors of dark chocolate.
  • Smoked or grilled meats: The charred flavors of smoked and grilled meats pair exceptionally well with the corn mash base and wine barrel finish of Burning Chair Bourbon.


As a bourbon enthusiast, I can say that this unique spirit has certainly left an impression on me.

The first thing I noticed was its intriguing backstory. Hailing from a winemaker known for his California wines, Burning Chair Bourbon brings together bourbons distilled in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

Upon my first sip, I was greeted with a delightful burst of sweet red fruits and fresh cut pink flowers on the nose. The red wine influence is evident, adding layers of apple, raspberry jam, and praline notes to the palate. This bourbon features an old gold color, which was surprising given the absence of any visible red tinge typically expected from cabernet barrel finishes.

As a relatively new bourbon, the Burning Chair has more than held its own against some of the larger brands in the market. Its smooth, balanced, and complex flavor profile, combined with the unique character brought on by the red wine influence, makes for an enjoyable and memorable drinking experience.

All in all, my time with Burning Chair Bourbon has been quite enjoyable, and I am looking forward to trying more expressions from Savage & Cooke in the future.

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