Taconic Double Barrel Maple Bourbon review

I will preface this review by saying that a) I am not a fan of almost all “flavoured” whiskeys and I was a little hesitant with this one at first. I poured this whiskey into a mini copitas tasting glass. It has a beautiful rich dark amber colour in the glass and after swirling a bit, the oily whiskey clings to the glass with slow, but thin legs.

Alright let’s get this going. I’ve let this sit in the glass for about 20 minutes. It’s something I do with most reviews I partake in. Sometimes even longer depending on age and proof.

Nose: First little whiff on the nose and it’s a touch sweet, but surprisingly I get some rye notes. The mash bill for Taconic Bourbons contain only 25% rye grain putting it in a medium rye’d bourbon. Those baking spices, nutmeg, allspice notes come through strongest up front. These notes are followed by barrel notes. The sweetness from the maple syrup soaked casks comes through with a hint of barrel char or slight smokiness. Then the bourbon notes come through with a nice citrus orangey note meshed with a nice vanilla and an almost tangy mouthfeel.

Pallet: On the palate it’s a very interesting whiskey indeed. It’s almost like the nosing notes work in reverse here. The bourbon notes hit first up front. The citrus and vanilla notes come through with a slight astringency and some tannic notes. All very pleasing on the tongue dance. As these notes start to mellow out a tinge, a nice maple note follows. With this a bit of caramel sweetness flirts about. A big surprise on the palate was the re-emergence of that rye baking spices note late in the delivery. It’s almost like the base bourbon/sweet corn and the much lower percentage rye grains are duking it out. This fight continues into the finish which was longer than expected and very pleasing. Begging you to have another sip before it fades completely. The other surprising part was that the sweetness in this whiskey wasn’t over the top in any way. I guess I expected a much more cloying sweetness but instead I got a well balanced maple influenced bourbon.

With water added…

The nose, with a touch of water, loses even more of the sweetness and brings those rye notes a bit more forward this time. The familiar (from trying the other Taconic Bourbons) bourbon notes come through strongest. On the palate with water, the sweetness shows up heavier, but still not at all cloying. More of a vanilla and maple sweetness. Like buttermilk pancakes with actual real maple syrup, not the artificial kind. With water this whiskey turns into a perfect breakfast whiskey.


I will fully admit again I was not going to like this at all. But the proof is in the pudding…the maple bourbon pudding. This is a fantastic and immensely drinkable bourbon. The maple barrels add just the right amount of influence on the already top notch bourbon and we are all the lucky benefactors of this unique and delicious marriage in a bottle.

Instagram: @seankincaid

Taconic Barrel Strength Bourbon review

Let’s close off this series of Taconic reviews by talking not about their whiskey, but about a dog. More specifically, the dog that appears on the label of every bottle they produce. The American foxhound has quite a history in the US. A cousin of the classic English foxhound, it was the result of cross breeding hounds bred by the Brooks family (a family with nearly 300 years of foxhound breeding) and French foxhounds owned by George Washington.

Because of the foxhound’s keen sense of smell, it was used by bootleggers during the prohibition to warn when government agents would were near. It’s characteristic howl would alert the bootleggers who would then have a chance to hide or move their illegal spirits.

The foxhound has personal roots for the Coughlin family, who own the distillery. Their foxhound, Copper, is their family dog and distillery mascot.

Now let’s return to their whiskey! Today we’re reviewing their Barrel Strength Bourbon which was matured for at least four years in new American oak barrels and bottled at 57.5% abv.

Nose: For a barrel strength bourbon, the nose is very shy. I’m getting a little bit of a sour orange peel note. I think I’ve gotten orange in all of the Taconic expressions I’ve reviewed. There’s also some corn flakes in there as well. I’m definitely getting more oak on this than I got on their barrel strength rye. There’s a little bit of a dusty sweet feed (like we feed to our horses if they’re extra good) note lingering in the background. It took 45 minutes, but it’s slowly starting to open up now. I’m getting some light brown sugar and a bit of dark caramel. Also a cherry bubblegum note as well. In terms of spicing, there’s cinnamon, allspice and just a hint of clove.

Palate: The entry is sweet, but very brief. Very rich vanilla and caramel quickly transitions to to the flesh and peel of an orange. Then the development hits. It’s not hot, but it’s baking spice rich. Cinnamon and cloves. Lots and lots of cloves. Whole cloves, ground cloves, whole cloves stuck in an orange. You know…cloves! There’s also some nutmeg as well. Like the rye, I like the premise of baking spices without the heat. The difference here is that the baking spices are overwhelming the experience and is swamping out the sweetness I got on the entry. The sweetness is still there, mind you, but it’s faint. The oak that kicks in during the later part of the development doesn’t help matters. I’m hoping that water will level the playing field a little.

Finish: The finish is medium to long, but the imbalance between the sweetness and baking spices that cropped up during the development continue here. The finish isn’t necessarily drying, but there is almost no sweetness to be found except maybe a very dark chocolate note, which is more bitter than sweet. Other than that, it’s just slowly fading baking spices and oak.

With water added…

I’m getting a little more vanilla and caramel on the nose now. This is definitely sweeter than without water added. I’m getting more cloves and oak as well. The entry is even sweeter now and that translates to a huge improvement in terms of the development. Yes, it’s still a baking spice bomb, but the balance between that and the caramel, orange and vanilla that carries over from the entry is much improved. With that extra bit of sweetness the later part of the development into the early part of the finish has that ginger snap cookie taste that I love. This makes the whole part of the finish more pleasurable.


This is why we add water to whisky. It does wonders in terms of transforming an experience. Sometimes it works (as in this case), sometimes it offers you a very different, and equally pleasing, experience. It can, of course, send things careening downhill.

I much prefer their barrel strength rye to this one, simply because there was more balance in the sweetness compared to the spice. However, I do appreciate that water improved this one a lot.

Instagram: @paul.bovis

Taconic Dutchess Private Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey review

Changing careers is something that a lot of us do at some point or another. Sometimes you accept a promotion within your organization or you seek a similar (hopefully better paying) job at another firm. Sometimes you go back to school to learn up and get a better trade. Other times, you go off and pursue something completely different. With Taconic Distillery’s founding family, the latter is definitely true although the situation is not as unique as you might think.

In a previous life Paul and Carol Ann Coughlin were part of the Wall Street scene in finance and marketing. Having spent over two decades in their respective fields, they felt it was time for a much needed change. They already owned land in Dutchess County (thus the name of this expression), New York and wanted to make that the heart of their new venture. Paul was already an avid bourbon fan, so moving into the field of whiskey seemed like a logical choice. And so Taconic was born.

Taconic’s main focus is bourbon and rye along with a smattering of white spirits. We have already reviewed their wildly popular Double Barrel Maple Bourbon, Founder’s Rye and Barrel Strength Rye. We’ll cover the Dutchess Bourbon in this review and the Barrel Strength Bourbon next week. If you are lucky enough to visit their distillery, you will be able to snag some of their limited releases, which are finished in Cognac, Cabernet or Madeira casks. Not to mention their barrel aged maple syrup!

Sitting in the glass today, we have the Taconic Dutchess Private Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey made from a mashbill of 70% corn, 25% rye and 5% malted barley. This was aged for at least four years in new, charred American oak and bottled at 45%.

Nose: This is a pretty light nose, but one thing I get straight away is a decent amount of orange. This might be off putting to some bourbon drinkers, but I love it. Baker’s, a favourite of mine, is another bourbon with plenty of citrus behind it. I’m not getting a strong cherry note in here. It’s just lurking in the background. As I let this sit in the glass, it’s becoming just a tiny bit floral and a little bit of peach is revealing itself. There’s also some cinnamon, toffee and a bit of nutmeg in there as well. I’m not getting that much oak or vanilla. That sour orange note is getting in the way, I think. It will be interesting to see what water does in that regard.

Palate: Like the nose, the entry is pretty light and a bit thin. There’s a little bit of toasted peanut to go along with some light caramel and the flesh of a navel orange. The transition into the development is very slow and gentle. For a high rye bourbon, I’m expecting a little bit of a spicy kick in the development, but it’s not there. I got the same experience with their ryes. However, there are plenty of baking spices present. I mostly get cinnamon and clove. The nuttiness, orange and oak gets turned up a little as I smack my lips. The caramel on the entry is more sponge toffee on the development.

Finish: The oak, baking spices and orange slowly fade away. The toasted peanut on the development is now becoming dark peanut brittle, but it’s pretty faint. The orange is preventing a drying end to the experience.

With water added…

Definitely more cinnamon on the nose as well as peanut brittle. The oak is a lot more present as well. Water has definitely increased the boldness here. The palate is much the same in terms of notes, but the volume is turned up significantly. Still not much in the way of heat, but that’s alright by me. One significant difference with water is the addition of cocoa powder. It’s slightly bitter, but helps to add some much needed richness. This is a much more mouth experience as well. By the time the finish kicks in, that cocoa note evolves into a rich hot chocolate. The oak is also a little more pronounced.


This is definitely much improved with water. The flavors are much bolder that way and help to give the whisky a deeper, richer mouthfeel. Part of me wishes that there was a little more heat in the development to remind me I’m drinking 90 proof whisky, but I do appreciate the strong baking spice notes I get on the development despite this.

I’m very interested how the Barrel Proof version compares to this. Will it be spicier? Will it be more of the same? Tune in next week!

Instagram: @paul.bovis