I had the pleasure of trying Sam Houston 15 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. As an enthusiast, I was intrigued by its reputation as a unique and enjoyable bourbon, with layers of fruit on the palate and a soft sweetness that lingers through the finish. Admittedly, I had a high expectation based on the reviews I encountered, and I wanted to share my personal experience on this remarkably aged spirit.
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Sam Houston 15 Year Bourbon Overview
My journey with Sam Houston Bourbon started when I came across this 15-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon. It’s a product of the Western Spirits Beverage Company, who are also known for the Bird Dog brand. The bourbon is named after the famous political and military figure who played an essential role in the founding of the Republic of Texas.
Sam Houston Bourbon has its roots at the Barton Distillery in Kentucky. This particular release, known as Release No. 1, has been aged for 15 years in charred American white oak casks. The aging process combined with Kentucky’s unique climate results in a complex and sophisticated whiskey.
When it comes to the price range, I found that Sam Houston 15 Year Old Bourbon is a bit higher-end product. But considering its age and limited edition nature, it’s worth the splurge for any bourbon enthusiast. The prices vary, but you can generally find a bottle for around $120 to $160 in the market.
As I poured the Sam Houston 15 Year Old Bourbon into my Glencairn glass, I was immediately greeted by a light and delicate nose. I was quite impressed by the delightful perfume-like scent that emerged. The aroma showcased notes of cherries, vanilla flan with caramel on top, and orange peel. Alongside these, I also detected a tres leches cake-like note that left me eager to take my first sip.
Upon tasting, I found this aged bourbon to be rich in complexities and intriguing flavors. On the palate, I was able to discern a fantastic toasted marshmallow quality followed by hints of soft white lily and lemongrass, which perfectly complemented the creamy confectionary sweetness. There was a subtle presence of maple syrup and a faint white pepper spice that added a welcome counterbalance to the sweetness.
The finish of the Sam Houston 15 Year Old Bourbon was clean, featuring soft sweet buttered corn and barley notes. I was pleasantly surprised by the toned-down finish, which, despite the 15-year aging process, didn’t overwhelm with aggressive oak or spice notes. I attribute this to its lower-than-expected alcohol content, which effectively balanced the flavors.
In considering all the enticing elements of this American whiskey, I give the Sam Houston 15 Year Old Bourbon a score of 9 out of 10. Its unique nose, delightful flavor profile, and smooth finish make it an enjoyable pour that I’d recommend to fellow bourbon enthusiasts. Produced in Bowling Green, Kentucky, this Calumet offering is undoubtedly a testament to the craftsmanship and barrel aging that goes into creating a high-quality aged bourbon.
Mixing and Pairing
This bourbon has a diverse flavor profile, including notes of caramel, vanilla, cherry, mint, spice, orange peel, and more. In this section, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite mixers, cocktail suggestions, and food pairings for this delightful bourbon.
To really bring out the best in Sam Houston 15 Year Bourbon, I like to use mixers that complement its flavors. Here are some of my top picks:
- Ginger ale: The spice and subtle sweetness of ginger ale enhance the caramel and vanilla notes in the bourbon.
- Club soda: Add a splash to create a light and refreshing highball, allowing the cherry and citrus flavors to shine.
- Fresh lemon or orange: Squeeze a wedge into your drink to bring out the citrus notes while adding a pleasant tartness.
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With such a versatile flavor profile, Sam Houston 15 Year Bourbon mixes well in a variety of cocktails. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Old Fashioned: Muddle a sugar cube, a few dashes of bitters, and an orange peel in a glass, then add ice and the bourbon. The orange peel and bitters help to enhance the spice and fruit notes in the whiskey.
- Whiskey Sour: Combine the bourbon with lemon juice, simple syrup, and an optional egg white for a classic drink that showcases the bourbon’s fruity notes.
- Mint Julep: Muddle mint leaves with simple syrup and bourbon, then fill the glass with crushed ice. Top with a fresh mint sprig for a refreshing cocktail that plays off the bourbon’s minty undertones.
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Finding the right food pairings for Sam Houston 15 Year Bourbon can make for an even more enjoyable tasting experience. Based on my personal tastes, I recommend trying:
- Dark chocolate: The rich, bittersweet flavor of dark chocolate complements the bourbon’s caramel and vanilla notes.
- Smoked meats: Pair the whiskey with smoked brisket, ribs, or other barbecued meats to emphasize the smoky and fruity flavors in the bourbon.
- Cheese: Aged cheeses like cheddar, gouda, or blue cheese can stand up to the bold flavors of the whiskey while highlighting its creamy and nutty undertones.
As a bourbon that’s been aged for 15 years, it’s sourced from select barrels located in a private reserve. The Barton distillery in Kentucky is responsible for crafting this fine spirit, and they’ve certainly done a great job. Drinking this bourbon makes me feel like I’ve stepped into a realm that marries history with contemporary flavors.
The retail price of Sam Houston 15 Year Old Bourbon isn’t too steep, considering its age and quality. I think it’s a great gift for a bourbon lover, whether they’re a soldier, a president, or simply an enthusiast looking to expand their horizons. The packaging reflects the sophistication and rich history behind the brand, so it’s sure to impress. At 103-proof and non-chill filtered, Sam Houston 15 Year Old Bourbon balances complexity and drinkability quite effectively. Although the $150 price tag may be a bit steep for some, I believe that this is a bourbon worth trying at least once, if only for the opportunity to experience the distinguished flavors that come from its 15 years of careful aging in Bardstown, Kentucky.
If I were to sum up my impression of Sam Houston 15 Year Old Bourbon in a sentence or two, I’d say it’s a well-crafted, balanced, and complex bourbon that is definitely worth a try. It’s the kind of drink that I would enjoy in a relaxed setting, sipping slowly to savor the rich flavors and bourbon culture it represents.
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