Limestone Branch Distillery (Lebanon, KY) Master Distiller Stephen Beam has announced the upcoming release of its 2022 Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Per the brand, this Lim Ed expression is a meticulously balanced blend of 7-year, 15-year and 16-year aged bourbons selected by Beam and aged in Marsala Superiore casks. It will begin hitting select markets in September.
Since 2015, Beam has produced a unique, limited-edition bourbon annually under the Yellowstone brand, which celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2022, along with its namesake national park. For this year’s Yellowstone Limited Edition, Beam selected Marsala Superiore casks to finish select barrels of 7-year-old-bourbon to provide unique tasting notes to complement the extra-aged bourbons comprising this year’s Limited Edition.
Dried apricots, manuka honey and complemented by hints of tobacco.
Dark brown sugar notes mixed with dried fruit, walnut and dates followed by hints of vanilla
Lingering with Palm Sugar and Tamarind
Yellowstone 2022 Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey: Specs
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Origin: Limestone Branch Distillery
Proof: 101 (50.5% ABV)
Age: 7-Year, 15-Year, and 16-Year-Old Whiskies
Yellowstone Bourbon’s culminating act for 2022 has arrived. The annual release, scheduled to hit gift shop and store shelves in September, is extra special this year.
In case you hadn’t heard, it’s Yellowstone National Park’s (and the bourbon named for it) 150th Anniversary this year.
For this year’s Yellowstone Limited Edition, Master Distiller Stephen Beam married 7-, 15-, and 16-year bourbons. Some of the 7-year-old barrels were finished in Marsala Superiore casks from Sicily for an undisclosed period of time. Based on the press release’s wording, not all 7-year-old barrels were finished in the Marsala casks.
Despite the brown sauce that carries the “marsala” moniker, marsala is a fortified white wine around 18% ABV. It’s named for the city of Marsala on Sicily and features a varied grape profile. Marsala also tends to be sweet like a dessert wine, but there are drier versions available, too.
Marsala Superiore has DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) protection under Italian law, meaning it meets the geographical, grape varietal, and aging requirements for that standard. The “Superiore” appellation means it is a slightly higher ABV (usually just 0.5%) than the classic wine of the same DOC. Marsala Superiore must be aged at least 2 years, but can be aged longer, and stays well in the bottle for up to a decade when stored properly.
Marsala as a category is an unusual choice for finishing, but I love it. I also love how Beam went about it. By finishing a part of the 7-year barrels rather than the whole, it surely allowed him to mix and match barrels when completing the blend. If it was a little too sweet (i.e. too much Marsala Superiore influence) he could either pull back on those casks or add more of the 7-year barrels to balance it out. Keeping in mind that there’s also 15- and 16-year bourbons in here, the Marsala is used skillfully to add unctuousness, just enough sweetness, and cherry/date fruitiness.
That’s not to discount the bourbons, either. The blend shows no woodiness – a true miracle considering the age – and instead features oak as a creamy, peppery backbone that expands on the chew and coats delectably. I’ve enjoyed other Limited Edition releases from Limestone Branch, but this is easily my favorite of the bunch. The bourbon brings the vanilla, corn, brown sugar, and baking spices you want; the wine adds fruit, sweetness, acidity, and body, with a chocolaty finish that brings the two together seamlessly.
Neither is overpowering and neither is lost. That balance is the mark of well-done finishing and blending, and Beam seems to get better at it every year.