I.W. Harper 12

IW Harper

Hello /r/Bourbon[1] ! Here’s my first review of a Kentucky bourbon, as I’m typically a Canadian whisky/Scotch fan, and my father is the bourbon fan. Waitresses just love us….

I picked up this bottle from a co-worker who is moving and had to get rid of some full bottles of alcohol. I was intrigued by this, and more so my father is a Bourbon drinker, so why not pick up I.W. Harper 12 year Kentucky Bourbon? Worst case scenario, I dump a vanilla bean into it and my baking ends up coming with a warning about operating machinery after eating or not to eat it near an open flame. Or I could give it to my father, the Bourbon aficionado of the family.

I’ve since read that this is not available North America any more, and based on the Italian on the bottle, I don’t think my co-worker bought this in Canada (call it a hunch). I’ve read that you can pick it up in Japan and around Europe for between $65 and $100. Let’s see what I’ve blundered into, shall we?

Price: N/A

Region: Kentucky

Abv: 46%

Colour: Wood Varnish

Nose: Caramel, pine, ethanol, fresh grass, pot-pourri/lavender (light), maybe eucalyptus

There a nice almost a forest after a fresh spring rain smell to this whiskey. It turns to a fake flower scent, and the ethanol smell adds to a chemical element to it. I’m a little worried at this point, as other bourbon’s I’ve had haven’t really been my thing. Here’s hoping this doesn’t taste like a rubber fire.

Taste: Oak, honey, bitter orange, ginger, maple sap (NOT syrup), pepper

Still walking through the woods with this one, only I guess I’m chewing on some trees and roots now… okay, perhaps that’s not how you walk through a forest, and I don’t recommend it, as you may end up eating poison, but let’s not judge, okay?

It’s not a strongly flavoured whiskey by any stretch, and the sugars come in and out. The “fakeness” of the nose is gone now, which is a relief. Let’s keep this hippy going.

Finish: Wood, faint orange, rosemary, zucchini, floral, sour apple

Very quick, inoffensive finish on this one. Calling it “smooth” would be an understatement, this finish has been moisturising and ex-foliating The vegetation and fruit flavours blend nicely, though if you aren’t looking, you’ll wonder if you even swallowed the bourbon in the first place.

Conclusion: There’s a set path for this bourbon. I can imagine someone just said “I want something easy to drink, that has vegetal, floral, and fruit notes, and I want it smooth.” And honestly, that’s what they got. It’s almost too smooth for me, and doesn’t really try anything new or different. If you have a chance to try this, I’d wonder if it’s worth it. There are more complex and interesting whiskey’s out there, and at the $100 (USD) price point, I think you can do better. That being said, if you like something very smooth, go for it.


Bourbon review #1, Kentucky review #1, Whisky Network review #22

1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #12

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