Calumet Farm 15 year Bourbon Review

Single Rack Black

“Whirlaway”

Time for the Calumet Farm 15 year bourbon review! I purchased the Calumet 16 first and did a review on it…loved it! I have heard that some folks enjoy 16 more than 15, and vice versa. If you have a preference, leave a comment below.

Calumet 15 year is from the Single Rack Black bourbon line, which combines all 19 barrels from one rack in their aging warehouse to create this exclusive small batch bourbon. It is non-chill filtered and 105 proof. This release is named “Whirlaway” to honor one of Calumet Farm’s most famous racing horses (more on this below). Prior to 2020, this bourbon was released at proofs below 100. But beginning in 2021 they increased the proof to over 100, making it more appealing to bourbon enthusiasts.

Calumet Farm’s bourbons are produced by Western Spirits Beverage Co., who also produce Sam Houston, Bird Dog, and Lexington. Their Calumet Farms line includes the: 8 yr, 12 yr, 14 yr, 15 yr, 16 yr. It is believed that their whiskey is sourced from Barton.

Series: Single Rack Black – “Whirlaway”
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Age: 15 years
Proof: 105
Batch Designation: Small Batch
Proof Designation: na
Filtered Status: Non-Chill Filtered
Mash bill: 74% Corn, 18% Rye, 8% Malted Barley
Distillery: Undisclosed, but rumored to be Barton 1792
Company: Western Spirits Beverage Co.
Bottled By: Three Springs Bottling Company, Bowling Green, KY
Distilled/Aging Location: Bardstown, Kentucky
Release Date: July 2021
Batch Notes: batch size is 19 barrels
Rack No.: P2613.09
MSRP: $150
Availability: Low/Rare

Calumet Farm 15 Review
Calumet 15 Review

My tasting reviews are unique in that I include the notes of several well-known whiskey critics. The hope is that this format will help me and others to explore and expand their tasting experience. After you have taken your own tasting notes, read the reviews and see if there is a flavor note that others discerned that now you can detect as well.

For this tasting: Opened Bottle (at least 1 month), Glencairn Glass, Neat, Room Temp, Breathe: 2 minutes

Nose

Dark fruits, old oak, luxardo cherry, fig, dark caramel, leather, vanilla, custard, hint of butterscotch.

Other Reviewer’s Perceptions

Bourbon Guy: Caramel, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, apple, and oak.

The Whiskey Lady: I’m greeted with a warm blend of vanilla and oak spice notes. There are hints of dark red fruit compote and caramel sauce, which are quite typical of Kentucky bourbon. A touch of apple and brown sugar also come through on the nose, making it quite inviting, albeit slightly underwhelming.

Bourbon Culture: Warm vanilla and oak spice notes accompany dark red fruit compote and caramel sauce. Overall the nose is a bit underwhelming but inviting nonetheless.

Palate

Semi-sweet on the palate with lots of dark flavors. Dark caramel, molasses, allspice, burnt sugar (but not bitter), dark chocolate, leather, toasted oak, sweet oak, vanilla, baking spices, hint of dark cherry. Delicious dark notes with a balanced, mild sweetness and a viscous mouthfeel.

Other Reviewer’s Perceptions

Bourbon Guy: Spicy and thick. Caramel, brown sugar, oak, apple, cinnamon candies, and leather.

The Whiskey Lady: I immediately notice honey and oak flavors, which are nicely balanced by a rounded spice coming from the rye in the mash bill. The palate truly shines with big cherry notes, and underlying flavors of corn and malted barley. There are also subtle hints of white pepper and spearmint, adding a spicy kick to the overall taste profile.

Bourbon Culture: Fruit-forward flavors of cherries and apricots mingle with peppery spice notes and a hint of mint. Some scorched caramel alongside lady fingers demonstrate the sweeter side that almost gets covered up with a powerful blast of tannins like oak, tobacco leaf, and musty leather.

The bite to this one is a little bit stronger than the proof would indicate, but it’s still manageable. Overall, this is a tannin-rich sip that has just enough sweetness to keep it balanced.

Finish

Moderately long semi-dry finish with spicy oak, mild caramel, mild cinnamon.

Other Reviewer’s Perceptions

Bourbon Guy: Spicy and long. Notes of dark chocolate, caramel, cinnamon candies, mint, and a touch of apple.

The Whiskey Lady: The finish is quite remarkable, as it lingers with the leather and juicy raisin notes. These flavors are complemented by apple cider and dry roasted nuts, which persist long after each sip. While the flavors in the finish are somewhat bold, they don’t come across as exaggerated.

Bourbon Culture: Tannins like oak and leather remain behind as the sip fades away. There’s some dark chocolate with a bit of alkalinity as well. Overall, the finish is only moderately long and somewhat of a letdown for its age.

The Burn

4 out of 5. This means that the burn from the alcohol is a bit lower (5% to 9%) than what I would expect it to be. I would guess this to be around 95 proof, not 105 proof.

Summary

Calumet 15 year is a fantastic pour and one that I would also bunker. Compared to Calumet 16, I prefer 16 over 15 because 16 is a little sweeter. But if you prefer darker notes with a semi-sweet flavor then Calumet 15 might be your favorite. But regardless, they are both excellent bourbons.

My Tasting Notes

If you like the tasting wheel below, there is a black-and-white and a color version available to paid subscribers.

Calumet 15 Tasting Review notes
Notes and History: Whirlaway

From the Calumet Farms website:
In 1941, Whirlaway was ready to shock the world with his amazing speed. Whirlaway had a tendency to bolt toward the outside rail. Trainer Ben Jones spent many sessions trying to break the habit with no luck. The more he tried to tame the wild Whirlaway, the more ornery and bold he became. As a last resort, the day before the Kentucky Derby, Ben Jones cuts one of Whirlaway’s blinkers away. It worked.

Whirlaway, ridden by Eddie Arcaro, not only gives Calumet Farm its first Kentucky Derby victory but he does it with an 8-length victory in a record time of 2:01 2/5. Whirlaway subsequently gives Calumet its first Triple Crown after dominating the Preakness and the Belmont races as well. He later added a win at the Travers Stakes to complete the Grand Slam of thoroughbred racing. To date, he is still the only horse in history to ever accomplish this feat. Whirlaway also captures the honored title of 1941 Horse of the Year. To honor the legacy of Calumet Farm and its first Triple Crown winning horse, this exquisite bourbon has been crafted with the same passion and dedication that lead Whirlaway to victory.

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Tim
4 months ago

Great review! I love this bottle

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