Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Limestone Branch Distillery. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Back in July, we shared the news that Limestone Branch Distillery Master Distiller Stephen Beam would be rolling out the 2022 Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey in September. It’s October and I’m finally getting around to sharing what I think of it, but—like whiskey—sometimes reviews are better after they’ve been sitting around a while.
As a refresher, this whiskey features a blend of 7-year, 15-year and 16-year bourbons selected by Beam and aged in Marsala superiore casks. As I was putting together this review, I took a deeper dive into Marsala; I only remembered it from the old-school Italian joints my grandparents took me to, and it was always preceded by “veal” or “chicken.” What did it mean for Marsala to stand out on its own? And was there a difference between Marsala superiore and regular Marsala wine?
According to the Italian Wine Guide, Marsala superiore is a dry or sweet white dessert wine. And Love to Know shares a little more about it; it’s a fortified Italian wine grown and produced near the Sicilian city of Marsala, and that to be deemed Marsala superiore, it must be aged for two years or more and at least 18% ABV. And Forbes, back in 2020, sung Marsala’s praises as far more than a cooking wine, and relayed its long and literally colorful history, including its golden age during the Napoleonic wars.
I kind of love it when whiskey tasting turns into an impromptu history lesson.
Earlier this year, I got to taste Yellowstone’s Family Recipe Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, which also honors history; it’s inspired by a recipe found in notes from Beam’s grandfather, Guy Beam, and containing cloned yeast using DNA from a yeast jug belonging to Beam’s great-grandfather, Minor Case Beam.
And even more history: Ever since 2015, Beam has made a limited-edition bourbon every year under the Yellowstone brand. The whiskey brand and its namesake national park celebrate a 150th anniversary in 2022.
The 2022 Yellowstone Limited Edition comes in custom-designed bottles featuring embossing, a natural cork and a label featuring the 2022 Yellowstone Limited Edition emblem. In September, 10,000 cases, featuring three bottles per case, are available at retail locations nationwide. It costs about $100 per 750 ml bottle and is bottled at 101 proof.
Tasting notes: 2022 Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Vital stats: 101 proof; mash bill of 7-year, 15-year and 16-year bourbons; about $100.
Appearance: Light caramel color. To continue the Italian theme, it’s the same color as a slightly too-crisp biscotti dunked several times in coffee.
Nose: This one’s subtle, light on the nose, it whispers like a soft-talker. It is the opposite of shout. I get the hint of something fruity from the Marsala: fig, dried mango. And nutty: almonds, not roasted.
Palate: Fruity on the palate as well as the nose. I get white pepper, too. And ginger. It’s louder on the palate than on the nose. It’s a loud talker. This tastes a little jangly upfront; a couple dribbles of water or an ice cube or two helps. There’s energy. It bites. It’s a mixer. I want this also to be smooth and this tastes like it’s not quite there.