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Old Bones Bourbon 15-Year Reserve Review [2021]

Last updated Apr 2, 2021

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by Matty Sims

Glencairn Whiskey Glass

Old Bones Bourbon is a small batch bourbon released from Backbone Bourbon Co.  We have named Old Bones Bourbon one of our best bourbons over $100 as of spring of 2021. It is Backbone Bourbon Co.’s aged expression released in limited quantities. Seven batches have been released as of early 2021 with bourbons aged between 10 to 15 years old.

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Old Bones Bourbon 15-Year Reserve Batch 1 Review

Old Bones Bourbon 15 Year Reserve Review

Old Bones Bourbon 15-Year Reserve
Batch 1Details
In the Bottle108.2 Proof
ABV54.1%
MashbillUnknown
Distilled and AgedFrankfort, KY
Age15YO
StyleSmall Batch, Premium Aged
Fair Price$150
Released2020
CompanyBackbone Bourbon Co.
845 S. Vineyard Ave.
Ontario, CA 91761
ProsLuxurious Nose
ConsLacks Complexity on Finish
RatingSilver 91.8 out of 100 Points
InventoryBuy It Now

Because Old Bones Bourbon 15 Year Reserve was distilled in Frankfurt, KY rumors swirled about who distilled this. The first whispers were Buffalo Trace but I now believe that’s unlikely. It’s been confirmed by Fred Minnick that Beam sold off 15YO aged bourbon to NDPs in 2020. That’s my best guess as to the distillery.

Nose – 95 out of 100 Points

The nose is nostalgic — Smucker’s Goober Cherry jelly. It’s full-on peanut butter and cherry swirl with pops of vanilla. I also get baking spice, freshly charred oak, and butterscotch. I love the aromas of this bourbon. It’s deep and wide.

Taste – 92 out of 100 Points

More Smucker’s Goober Cherry jelly but the sweetness is more subtle as it transitions to heat. Did my peanut butter jelly get turned into a spicy fusion Thai sauce? Damn, right it did. I also pick up some tannic oak. Was hoping for more cherry notes but it’s still delicious.

Finish – 90 out of 100 Points

The finish is long. 108.2 proof means it does not blow the roof off hot but has just the right amount of pepperiness to go along with roasted peanuts and muted sweetness. The sweetness is like over-reduced cherries and baking spice almost to a paste.

Complexity – 92 out of 100 Points

The complexity waned through the drinking experience. The nose had depth, balance, and pop. The palate and finish just needed more of that cherry sweetness as the unifying flavor. It was the difference between good and great.

Value – 90 out of 100 Points

Age isn’t everything but it helps to determine value. A minimum of $10 per year is a good baseline. For a 15YO bourbon, $130 is a great deal. The other factor is did the flavor live up to the hype? I would say good but not great.

Verdict – Silver 91.8 out of 100 Points

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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, and Inside Hook, partnered with dozens of distilleries, and reviewed hundreds of whiskeys.
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