Branch on Fire: Peerless Double Oak Bourbon

Peerless has only been a distillery in its current iteration since 2015, located in downtown Louisville. But they quickly made a name for themselves when their Rye started winning awards in 2017. The rye has been the flagship since, by and large.

Enter Peerless Double Oak. Double Oak means exactly what you would think it means, it gets taken from one fresh oak cask, after aging, and put into another fresh oak cask for more aging. The idea being that new wood provides more flavor. It is a concept that is getting more and more popular, although I will admit the Peerless is the first variation I have had a whole bottle of. I do have two seperate single barrel picks of Woodford’s Double Oak I plan to save some of this for, to do a side-by-side at some point.

Peerless Double Oak checks in at 107.4 proof, which actually surprised me when I just looked it up. I had forgotten it that high because it doesn’t come anywhere near drinking that hot. It does not have an age statement, other than “at least four years”.

Peerless Double Oak pours a dark amber, a hue you would expect from the extra wood exposure. And it definitely sips “oaky”. Oak, and cedar, are the first note you get on both the sniff and the taste. It overpowers the rest a fair amount, although I did get some cinnamon on the back end on occasion. Luckily, I’m okay with the wood overpowering the rest. Think peated scotch. If you can handle the smoke being strong in a scotch, Double Oak might be a way to go for a bourbon choice. If you want sweet, or caramel, or fruit notes, then Double Oak is probably not the way you want to go. All that being said, it is probably one of my favorite whiskeys of 2022. My whiskey collection has gotten a bit out of hand, and i need to finish some bottles off before buying too much more new stuff, but Double Oak will become a regular part of the rotation if I can easily find it again. This is one of those I will try to keep one bottle of around.

I say that, but also withhold judgement a tad there. There is one caveat. Woodford sells their Double Oak for around $55. Peerless is around $95. I should probably dive into those Woodfords to see if they come close at 60 percent of the price. There is an Old Forester version that is even cheaper. I have had a sample, but on a whiskey tasting night that makes it hard to remember individual notes.

Rating: 93

Whiskey Ratings

95: Lagavulin 16
93: Lagavulin 11 Offerman Edition, Peerless Double Oak
92: Jefferson’s Reserve Very Old
91–George Remus 2020 Cask Strength (A1 pick), Glenfiddich Fire & Cane
90: High West Campfire, Few Rye, Knob Creek Small Batch 100
89: Old Forester Rye, Knob Creek Brown Butter 120 (A1 Pick)
88: Buffalo Trace, Oban Night’s Watch
87: Breckenridge Bourbon
86: Indiana Whiskey Just Whiskey Cask Strength
85: Wolfburn Aurora, Jameson Stout Edition
83: Buchanan’s Deluxe 12
1: Jameson Orange. Yeah, I said it.

Gin Ratings

88: Dogfish Head Compelling Gin

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