As the humidity of the summer shows its early signs of breaking and the laid back days of summer come to a screeching halt with the return to school days and schedules, at 21c we look to one of our favorite months: September. There are many reasons to love this month, but the celebration of Bourbon Heritage Month and rich history that comes with it is ours.
Bourbon is at the core of who we are at 21c. It’s part of our DNA. The way we see it, you can’t have modern southern hospitality without a good pour of it. That’s why, in honor of Bourbon Heritage Month, celebrated annually in September, we decided it was time to get a bit more involved in the bourbon selection process.
This month, we launch 21c Selects – a carefully honed collection of handcrafted bourbon, ryes and brandies available only at 21c Museum Hotels, and only in Kentucky.
Over the years, we have been fortunate to forge great alliances within the spirits industry as a whole, and the Bourbon world in particular. The 21c Selects Barrel Program is a way to share and celebrate the great relationships we’ve made over the years. Each barrel is hand selected by our team, alongside some of the best Master Distillers in the business.
We’ve partnered with Buffalo Trace, Blanton’s, Eagle Rare, Old Forester, Copper & Kings and Whistle Pig to bring barrel-strength selections that embody the spirit of the 21c food and beverage program. Available in extremely limited quantities, these selections will be available by the drink only at Proof on Main, Lockbox and Garage Bar, and by the bottle at the 21c Museum Shop in Louisville and Lexington.
At 21c, we’re all about discovery, and these new barrel-strength selections are a flight of fancy for the Bourbon novice, while remaining nuanced and complex enough to satisfy the palates of our guests with the most discerning taste.
We’re working to add even more great selections to this collection, so stay tuned for updates on our latest endeavors.
Current offerings include:
Eagle Rare 10 Year Proof Selection offers a rare barrel, picked in 2012; its sweet and mellow profile makes it ideal for a Bourbon newcomer, yet it has enough depth and nuance to please the most discerning connoisseur. On the nose, this Bourbon is sweet, with lots of fruit; apple and pear give way to dried fruit, tea and vanilla. Caramel and toffee are secondary. The taste is sweet with nice wood and tannin notes and hints of caramel apple. It’s got a medium body with great mouth texture and builds in nuance. The finish is long, smooth and sweet, ringing out with cocoa and butterscotch, atop a warm woodiness. This unique selection has mellowed out in the best way possible over the years, without losing depth. Drinking this selection neat is a must. This 90 proof Bourbon is available in extremely limited quantities for $25 (375ml).
Blanton’s Proof Selection, picked in 2015 and bottled at 93 proof, is very expressive with more fruit and depth with greater harmony than the normal bottling. Showing its depth from the onset, the nose brings caramel, vanilla and toffee, hearty fruits like apple and apricot, and a slight earthiness with toasted wood and grass. The taste is sweet with baked caramel apple and cocoa. Its firm but pleasant wood and tannin texture gives it a medium plus body and Rye spice. The finish on this special barrel is long, with rye spice and campfire undertones. This Bourbon retails for $85 (750ml) in the 21c Museum Shop.
Copper & Kings 21c Private Cask Brandy is a Bourbon-lovers brandy, bottled at cask strength and aged in Bourbon barrels for two years. On the nose, it is initially sweet, with huge waves of vanilla and caramel on a tuft of smoke. Upon sitting, it opens up to reveal grass and florals, dried fruits and cocoa. The two years of Bourbon barrel aging hits first with rich sweet vanilla, caramel and baking spice – adding cherry, citrus rind, wood and a touch of earthiness and herb on a medium plus body. The finish is very warm, full of toasty wood notes and fruit. This 128.2 proof brandy retails for $90 (750ml).
Additional exclusive barrel selections are forthcoming and include Buffalo Trace Single Barrel, Old Forester Single Barrel and Whistle Pig 10 year Rye Single Barrel. More details on those selections will be announced in the coming months.