Craft Distilleries | Review

Every Belle Meade Bourbon Reviewed [2021]

Last updated Feb 7, 2021 | Published on Feb 7, 2021

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by Matty Sims

Belle Meade Bourbon was created by Charles Nelson in 1878 and was contracted with Sperry Wade & Company of Nashville, TN. In those early days, Belle Meade wasn’t just bourbon. They also made rye, corn, and Tennessee whiskies. While it lasted, Belle Meade was well regarded for its value and taste. However, its legacy was short-lived as TN started prohibition in 1909.

The resurrection of the Belle Meade brand is straight out of a movie. In 2006, Andy and Charlie Nelson, relatives of Charles Nelson, came across a historical landmark for the old Green Brier Distillery on their way to the butcher. They began investigating the old family business via the Greenbrier Historical Society and the rest is history. A passion was born along with delicious bourbon. It’s fitting today that Belle Meade today is a contracted whiskey from MGP in Lawrenceburg, IN as Charles Nelson grew the brand through a contracting relationship.

Related: Belle Meade Honey Stave Project

Start shopping for bourbon clothing and accessories for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Belle Meade Bourbon

Belle Meade Bourbon

Full Review Coming Very Soon

Belle Meade Cask Strength Reserve Bourbon

Belle Meade Cask Strength Reserve

Full Review Coming Very Soon

Belle Meade Single Barrel Bourbon

Belle Meade Single Barrel

Full Review Coming Very Soon

Belle Meade Bourbon Finished in Sherry Cask

Belle Meade Sherry

Full Review Coming Very Soon

Belle Meade Bourbon Finished in XO Cognac Cask

Belle Meade XO Cognac

Full Review Coming Very Soon

Belle Meade Bourbon Finished in Madeira Cask

Belle Meade Madeira

Full Review Coming Very Soon

Belle Meade Craftsman Cask Series

Belle Meade Craftsman Cask Series

The Belle Meade Bourbon Craftsman Cask Collection is sold at the Nelson Green Brier Distillery Bottle Ship. Each release is limited and experimental. The bourbons are well-aged with a unique cask finish that adds complexity and depth to already delicious bourbon. They are released at cask strength.

Belle Meade Bourbon Honey Cask Finish

Belle Meade Bourbon Honey Cask Finish

Belle Meade Honey was crafted in partnership with Trubee Honey. First, Belle Meade gave Trubee dumped honey barrels out of their own inventory. These were originally filled with 11-year-old Belle Meade bourbon. Next, Trubee filled these barrels with actual local wildflower honey to create barrel-aged honey. Now, the barrels were again emptied of honey and re-filled with bourbon for several months until the balance and complexity were just right.

Nose – 93 out of 100 Points

The honey influence is readily apparent, and it’s buttressed by sweet cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. There’s also a gorgeous buttery, sweet cornbread, and fresh oak.

Taste – 94 out of 100 Points

Dark berry honey quickly followed by jalapeño and baking spice. This is rich and balanced. You also get a wonderful charred oak and brown sugar.

Finish – 93 out of 100 Points

Caramely, honey stick to your bones goodness with gorgeous pepper, baking spice, and more sugary charred oak.

Complexity – 93 out of 100 Points

It’s a straightforward flavor profile — honey. Having tried two of the Craftsman Cask Series I’m impressed with how well the finishing cask flavors come through. It’s impressive the depth achieved.

Value – 91 out of 100 Points

Belle Meade Honey is another distillery gift shop release with a price of $130. But the price is higher because if you want this whiskey chances are you sleeping outside of the distillery. Or paying an absurd amount on some gray market group.

Verdict – Gold 92.8 out of 100 Points

Belle Meade Black Belle Bourbon Cask Strength

Belle Meade Black Belle Bourbon

I was fortunate enough to taste the original Belle Meade Black from 2017. The first release was a single barrel of beer finished bourbon. The Black Belle Imperial Stout infused with cocoa nibs (10.2% ABV) from Blackstone Brewing in Nashville, TN rested for 7 months then was dumped and re-filled with 10 to 11-year-old bourbon for 1 year. Black Belle was so successful the Craftsman Cask Collection was born. By all accounts, Belle Mead has mastered the art of cask finishing.

Nose – 90 out of 100 Points

The nose is savory. I get a malty beer and dark, rich coffee. Chocolate fudge. Charred cinnamon. This is different but it also reminds me of grilled teriyaki chicken thighs with sweet charred bits of fat that are also slightly bitter (in the best way). The aromas are different than anything else I’ve tried.

Taste – 93 out of 100 Points

The front of the palate has a malty sweetness. Mid-palate is tingly jalapeño, rye, and just a pop of cherry. The thick creamy stout notes are highlighted on the back of the palate. The taste is all imperial stout and spice.

Finish – 95 out of 100 Points

The finish is long. It’s full of cherry, caramel, and red peppercorn then the malty stout notes roll in. It is out there, so different but delicious.

Complexity – 93 out of 100 Points

The beer barrel finish added layers of complexity to an already rich bourbon. It’s different, delicious, and balanced.

Value – 90 out of 100 Points

This is a gift shop only release with a retail of $150. I’m typically not a fan of malt or a lover of imperial stouts, but I enjoyed Black Belle. It was interesting and complex.

Verdict – Silver 92.2 out of 100 Points

Belle Meade Bourbon Mourvèdre Cask Guide

Belle Meade Mourvedre

Mourvèdre is a full-bodied red wine grape grown around the world and, in this instance, by Withers Winery. The cash strength release was over 108 proof with robust notes of black cherry, cedar, and floral notes. The bourbon rested in the Mourvèdre casks for 4 months and 1 day. This release was a blend of bourbons ranging from 4 to 12 years old.

Belle Meade Bourbon Tannat Select Cask Guide

Belle Meade Tannat

This Belle Meade cask finish used barrels from Ramona Ranch Winery in east San Diego. The casks first held 100% Estate Tannat wine, a Double Gold, Best in Class at the Sonoma Grand Harvest Awards. The bourbon rested in the Tannat casks for 181 days.

Belle Meade Bourbon Brandy Cask Guide

Belle Meade Brandy

The backstory for Belle Meade Bourbon Brandy Cask finish is something else. The Spanish Brandy casks were originally filled on April 9, 1940, in a cargo ship heading for Oslo Norway during World War II. These casks were used to age Spanish Brandy for 75 years before being retired and used in Belle Meade’s Belle Meade Craftsman Cask Series. The casks were shipped across the Atlantic to Nashville, TN, and used to hold 11-year-old bourbon from Belle Meade. The bourbon rested for an entire 3 years in these Old World casks.

Start shopping for bourbon clothing and accessories for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is the Editor-in-Chief at a digital media company. LeAnn (his wife) and his daughters Claire, Maddy, and Adele along with a brand new pup Booker live in Taylors, SC, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He enjoys cracking a well-aged bottle of bourbon with friends and sharing stories, or cracking one of his favorite daily sippers on the back porch while the pup and his kids play in the backyard. He is a storyteller at heart, and Bourbon has deep roots in storytelling.
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