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