The Whiskey World Is in Love With Maple Barrel-Finished Hooch Right Now

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We’ve covered various cask finishing trends before, from difficult and delicate mizunara oak to the wildly overpowering amburana wood. Another type of barrel used for secondary whiskey maturation that has been gaining in popularity is the maple cask, and the latest example comes from Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery in Tennessee.

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The new Nelson Brothers Maple Cask Finish, a bourbon that was finished in barrels previously used to age maple syrup, comes out this Friday. This is the newest entry in the distillery’s Cask Series, which includes other whiskeys finished in barrels previously used to mature cognac, sherry, and Mourvèdre, a type of red wine. This new whiskey is the distillery’s core five-year-old bourbon that was finished for an additional three years in barrels that were used first to mature Nelson Brothers bourbon and then reused to age maple syrup, bringing the wood full circle. “Like all of our cask finishes, we don’t flavor the bourbon with syrup or liqueur,” said lead distiller Ed Kolb in a statement. “[We] infuse it with the rich maple coating of our barrels to create a truly exceptional and limited-edition bourbon.” The whiskey was bottled at 105.8 proof, and has notes of honeysuckle, gingerbread, allspice, and of course maple on the palate.

This new whiskey is far from the only maple-finished release in recent months—we covered the new Very Olde St. Nick Winter Maple recently (which was actually blended with maple syrup as opposed to a cask finish, but close enough). Since the fall, Ohio’s Watershed Distillery released a five-year-old, high-proof bourbon finished in maple barrels; Kentucky’s Town Branch has a bourbon finished in barrels used to age bourbon, maple syrup, and beer in that order; and 291 in Colorado has a barrel-proof rye whiskey finished in Wisconsin maple syrup barrels. These join the ranks of others like Widow Jane’s Decadence, Hudson Whiskey Short Stack, and Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Maple Finish.

While many of these other whiskeys are readily available to purchase online and at liquor stores, the new Nelson Brothers Maple Cask Finish is a distillery exclusive so you’ll have to head to Nashville to purchase a bottle (SRP $125) starting this Friday. If you’re interested in trying other expressions, you can find the distillery’s flagship Tennessee whiskey for sale at websites like Total Wine now.

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