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The Details

15 Stars

First West - Fine Aged Rye

A Select Blend of Straight Rye Whiskeys

Aged 6 Years (6, 7 & 8 Year Ryes)

Batch 001 / Bottle 2613

Distilled in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee

Bottled in Kentucky

52.5% Alc/Vol / 105 Proof

Mashbill: Various - Blended

Price: $89

Poured Neat in a Glencairn

Appearance: Amber

Nose: Dark Fruits, Baking Spices, Sprig of Mint

Palate: Light Dried Fruits, Black Tea, Chocolate, Mint and a touch of Leather & Tobacco

Finish: Medium to a Long Lingered Pepper Spice with a coating of Honey and Sweet Cream

Overall: "In 1795, America's 'First West' centered on Kentucky, the 15th State and the only state west of the Appalachian Mountains, as well as two US Territories around Kentucky known as the NW Territory and the SW Territory." - Bottle Label

I'm not surprised with how delicious this offering actually is. Coming on the heels of the Triple Cask and the Private Stock 7 & 15 Year Blend, this sets that bar another level higher. I tend to pick up quite a bit of mint on my palate when sipping certain Rye Whiskey. This is no exception. But add the delectable flavors and notes mentioned above and the combination works marvelously. A 91 Point rating from IWSL! But I still want to know what that 5th judge scored this one. Ha! This is quite special.

Thank you once again to the great folks at 15 Stars for providing this sample with no strings attached. The mail-calls have been quite impressive!

If you are interested in checking out 15 Stars, click HERE

Library Rating: 8.3 / 10

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When The Bourbon Thieves first hit the Whiskey Scene in March of 2020, it was a goal of ours to select a Single Barrel or a Private Selection. The other founders and I began to utilize our networking and positive vibes to create a short list of distilleries and companies we wanted to partner with. Our focus was craft and smaller companies looking to make waves. Amongst that list was a brand, new on the scene and a pair of fantastic people: Phenomenal Spirits. Karthik Sudhir & Matt Witzig are two of the nicest folks out there. Matt, the COO and Master Blender made quite the name for himself working under the same title at Joseph Magnus and helping to create their incredible Cigar Batch releases. We had plenty in common, we learned, as we set up a few zoom calls and virtual tastings. It also happened that I found myself in the Los Angeles area visiting family in November 2020 and spent an evening smoking cigars, braking bread and sipping some delicious whiskey and rum with Karthik, Founder, at his home in Orange County. With plenty to chat about and this just being the beginning of our relationship, I had a good feeling there would be plenty more to come. I wasn't wrong. More about that later.

The core product, RY3 is a Blend of 3 Mash Bills boasting a 12, 4 and 3 Year Alberta and Indiana Rye. It is also finished in vintage rum casks. Rum, Ron Izalco Rum to be precise, is another member of the Phenomenal portfolio. But we'll get into that in a different chapter ::hint hint:: This core product was sent to a couple of us founders and we immediately took a huge liking to it. So began the conversation of bringing a Private Selection to the table.

Because of the time we were starting out, the pandemic and how scattered we were logistically, there really was no chance of getting together in person to select this pick, so we decided to do this virtually. Plenty of emails and phone calls were exchanged. The back end process is where the work is. Again, this was my first experience selecting a barrel. But I knew the "fun" was yet to come. The experience was and is, top notch. We cycled through 3 samples and landed on the selection you see today. 119.4 Proof but without the Rum Cask Finish. Which we knew going into it and knew it would still be something special for our very first selection as a group and to me personally. So many firsts. The process was so easy as Karthik already had an online retailer set up to handle our selection. All we had to do was to select the blend that fit our profiles. As mentioned, we tasted through 3 different blends. All quite unique on their own. The selection was unanimous after chatting and tasting. We chose to keep in the dark about the proof of each so our selection wasn't compromised or influenced. Once the decision was made, the proof was revealed. You'll see this is a common practice for me when choosing barrels.

With the inaugural Bourbon Thieves Private Selection chosen, so began the next stage of pre-sales and hyping what we are putting our names behind. Only 66 of these bottles exist, which in my opinion, makes this a true unicorn. Again, relationships played a big part of this selection as we continued to use the same online retailer, Curiada, for numerous picks after. A blend that will never be exactly replicated. I was hooked. I needed to do more of these.

Also, The Bourbon Thieves pride ourselves on not overcharging or turning any profit on any Barrel Selection. We make it a point to try our best to get certain products in the hands of those that genuinely want to try them. These bottles were sold for $69 each through Curiada.

What a great first selection and the start of relationships and memories that will last forever.

All of these bottles are long gone but below are the tasting notes:

Nose: Mint, Rye Spice, Vanilla, White Pepper, Cream

Palate: Vanilla, Caramel, Chocolate, Pralines, Touch of Mint

Finish: Warm Medium Linger with a Black and White Pepper Spice

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As most of you know, my journey started back in 2019 when I debuted "The Bourbon Library". I later changed the name to The Bourbon Whiskey Library to incorporate all whiskey. But my passion for whiskey really started a very long time ago. It was only in 2019 when I began to document my daily pours and my "Whiskey of The Day" on Instagram and Facebook. I began to research more and more and truly took an interest in the ins-and-outs of our favorite spirit. With more knowledge and of course, more bottles being added on a weekly basis, my Instagram account started to blossom. With more followers and a greater scope of the community, I wanted to continue the growth and the passion. One way I continued this was participating in Single Barrel / Private Barrel Selections.

Obviously, the time period I just described, was the start of a different time in our lives. One that limited personal interactions. So, even the thought of helping to participate in a "pick" was foreign. The easiest way was to have samples sent and to pick a particular barrel that stood out the most. But it was more. It needed to be something unique and not something that simply tasted like a "shelf item". Clearly, nothing against what's on a shelf, but the thrill of picking a barrel is to bring something extra special to the table. As I say all the time, every barrel tells a different story. As times became a bit more "normal", I found myself traveling to distilleries to pick these barrels and blends in person. Talk about an incredible experience! So let me do just that. Let me be the story teller. Libraries are a storage place for history and stories, so lets venture down this road together as I introduce a weekly segment called THE PRIVATE BARREL CHRONICLES.

I will cross post here on my personal blog and my Instagram account on a weekly basis to highlight each of the Private / Single Barrel selections I've had the pleasure of being a part of. Some weeks I'll have videos of myself talking about the "pick". Some, I'll introduce you to the Distillers and Single Barrel Managers that helped make it happen. And of course, some weeks, I'll have guests on who were part of the same selection. I / We will also go through the tasting notes. With over 50 barrels that I have my name on, the stories have added up and I can't wait to share the fun times.

I invite you to follow along on the highlights of my journey!

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