Our local Bourbon group picked two barrels of Old Elk which were the first Old Elk Single Barrel Cask Strength bottles distributed in NC. One barrel was affectionately named “First In Flight” and was 108.2 proof while the second barrel was dubbed “Second To None” and was 106.9 proof. The price point was $61 for each bottle including taxes. I was excited to try the Old Elk Single Barrel since the standard offering in NC is blended. Another reason for excitement is their Master Distiller, Greg Metze, was previously the distiller at MWGP. Readers should be familiar with MWGP as many sourced Bourbons and Ryes originate at the Indiana distillery. The bottles were ultra cool with the custom labels and stoppers which listed the group name. My personal preference was Second To None over First In Flight and while I didn’t take notes on the flavor, it was filled with all the standard attributes of oak, brown sugar, light spice, and restrained alcohol despite the higher proofs. I would have preferred a bit more complexity and a slightly lower proof, but they were not my picks. I tend to gravitate to 100 proof Bourbons and these did exhibit a bit more alcohol than my preference and I’m not inclined to drink with ice or a splash anymore so I only tried them neat. As an experiment I mixed the two to see the result and still preferred Second To None. They were decidedly different in flavor with First In Flight being more restrained and having a lighter color. I’m still trying to decide if the price point was just a bit much, but to have a couple of the first bottles in NC it was worth the price of admission.

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