GSN has previously reviewed several New Holland spirits (here and here). This time around the good folks at New Holland sent our offices a line up of some of their whiskies, including one aged in a beer barrel. We decided to reevaluate a few of our earlier reviews in addition to trying the new Zeppelin Bend Reserve.
Beer Barrel Bourbon is first aged in new American oak barrels for several years, before a three-month beer-y slumber. Aged bourbon is finished in second-use Dragon’s Milk beer barrels for 90 days.
Beer Barrel Bourbon (80 proof)
Visual: Rich gold.
Nose: Surprisingly bright and almost effervescent. Somewhat reminiscent of a root beer scent.
Taste: Slightly sweet and caramel indicative, but with a distinct leaning toward the root beer, sarsaparilla spectrum. Quite interesting and tasty.
Finish: Medium short, with more of the herbal notes lingering than bourbon essence.
Overall: Light and easy-going. Perfect for sipping neat. Perhaps not for everyone, but I’ve never had a bourbon quite like this, and I find myself gravitating toward it after an evening meal.
GSN Rating: A-
A straight-malt whiskey, twice distilled and aged in new American oak with a heavy char. Twice distilled to 140 proof. Barreled at 120 proof in heavy-charred American white oak. After a 3-year minimum maturation time in the barrel, the whiskey is transferred out and proofed to 90 proof with deionized water. Zeppelin Bend Reserve goes through a second aging for an unstated length of time in sherry casks.
Zeppelin Bend (90 proof)
Visual: Sunny gold.
Nose: Dark autumnal forest funkiness overlying a chewy and malty nose.
Taste: Tenderly sweet with hints of clove, black cherry, wood smoke and walnut. A rich mouthfeel gives way to a mid-range of baking spices and toasted bread.
Finish: Long with a softly fading cinnamon tonality.
Overall: Again, a unique take on straight whiskey and one that has more than enough character to distinguish it from others in the crowd. This is designed for mixing in whiskey cocktails that call for character.
GSN Rating: A
Zeppelin Bend Reserve (90 proof)
Visual: Dark gold.
Nose: Bright and rich sherry nose undergirded with a supportive malt canvas. Elegant, dessert-like and mouth-watering.
Taste: Rich, sweet, absolutely luscious sherry/malt blend. This is a very direct and to the point sweet straight-malt, with a powerhouse of flavor that keeps developing over a long time. One sip and you’ll contemplate, two and you’ll be in heaven.
Finish: Long, long, long. Which is a good thing, because otherwise I’d be going back to the glass sooner than I should!
Overall: This is just about as perfect an American craft whiskey as it gets. Highly recommended!
GSN Rating: A+
For more information go to: New Holland Brew