Craft Distilleries | Review

Every Belle Meade Bourbon Reviewed [2021]

Feb 7, 2021

j

by Matty Sims

Glencairn Whiskey Glass

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 Bourbon

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.

Why Trust The Bourbon Bard?

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is a storyteller who loves bourbon. He has been drinking and studying whiskey for over 10 years. He has also been featured on sites like Bourbon Sippers, Explore Whiskey, Thrive Global and Inside Hook, partnered with dozens of distilleries, and reviewed hundreds of whiskeys. He has also created single barrel stickers for Bourbon Pursuit and Total Wine.
By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: The Bourbon Bard, PO Box 1501, Taylors, SC 29687, https://www.thebourbonbard.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email. Emails are sent by MailChimp.

We may receive a commission at no cost to you for purchases made through our affiliate links.

Popular Articles

Bourbon Release Calendar | Bourbon Drop Dates [2021]

Our bourbon release calendar and drop dates cover the annual cadence of major limited releases as well as new labels approved by the TTB — making bourbon hunting easy again. You may be asking, "What bourbon is releasing this week?" Well, new bourbon release dates are not an exact science. Not all...

read more

The 25 Best Bourbon Under $100 Ranked [New 2021]

The over $50 and under $100 bourbon whiskey category is where it gets interesting. There are some all-time great options available in this corner and many can be easily found. Some of my top choices include Booker’s bourbon and Four Roses Single Barrel Barrel Proof (SBBP). Booker’s batches...

read more

The 18 Best Bourbons Under $50 Ranked [Updated 2021]

The best bourbons under $50 list are where it gets interesting. In the under $30, there are some great mid to bottom shelf bourbon whiskeys but not many offer the complete package. Our top pick for the $50 and under does just that, so check out our best bourbon rankings for under $50. Related:...

read more

The 16 Best Bourbons Under $30 Ranked [Updated 2021]

Many people are returning to the best bourbons under $30 and are reminded of just how good they are. I love the thrill of the hunt and the premium bourbons as much as anyone, but a theme I’ve heard in bourbon groups and among bourbon aficionados is bourbon burnout.  Flat out — these under $30...

read more

The 20 Best Bourbons Over $100 Ranked [Updated 2021]

Many will shake their heads and sigh over the best bourbons over $100 category — because most of these are unicorns for your average bourbon drinker. I’m going to include some no brainers like the Pappy Van Winkle bourbons, but you can’t have a complete list and especially not one with the best...

read more

Every Smoke Wagon Bourbon Reviewed [2021 Updated Guide]

Smoke Wagon Bourbon was founded by Aaron Chepenik and Jonathan Hensleigh in 2012 as part of Nevada H&C Distilling Co. They source their bourbon from Midwest Grain Products of Indiana (MGPI) using MGPI's 36% high rye bourbon mashbill. Chepenik developed Smoke Wagon's mashbill and brand flavor...

read more

Every Weller Bourbon Reviewed [2021]

You're here because you've been asking, "Which Weller bourbon is the best?" We've got you covered with reviews of every Weller in your Weller bourbon collection plus more. Some of you may be newer to bourbon and may just want to know the types of Weller bourbon. Experienced drinker or newer to the...

read more

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: The Bourbon Bard, PO Box 1501, Taylors, SC 29687, https://www.thebourbonbard.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email. Emails are sent by MailChimp.

Let Us Review Your Whiskey

Please Leave a Comment

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *