Nose: biscuit, corn, vanilla, cloves
Taste: cloves, kettle corn, biscuit, cinnamon
As long-time readers are aware, I’ve been drinking Bib & Tucker for about a year now. As you may or may not have guessed, I haven’t written about it because I’ve really been on the fence about this whiskey.
Bib & Tucker, by 35 Maple Street, is a solid, simple performer. In car terms, this is the Dodge Dart of Bourbon. Well, maybe the Dodge Dart GT of whiskey. Solid, bulletproof, no frills, always delivers, and is capable of launching you into another area code if you’re not careful. When I don’t know what I want to drink, but I know I need to have something, Bib & Tucker is my go-to whiskey. (Well… and Four Roses Yellow well… and Rendezvous Rye.) It’s a strange whiskey, but I’ve never said, “Nah, that’s not what I want.”Diving into my patented “Let’s not mince words” quote:
Bib & Tucker Bourbon is a good whiskey with solid character.
If it sounds like I’m sugar-coating that quote a bit, it’s because I am. While I like Bib & Tucker just fine, I’m pretty sure 80% of you won’t. Why?
The nose is spicy, reminiscent of white lightning. Think corn & rye. But there are other things going on as well. The biscuit I get, much like the cloves, is likely more to do with the mash bill than the barrel. The vanilla is a straight barrel note. And there should be barrel notes; after all, this is aged 6 years. But there just aren’t enough barrel notes here.
And the palate starts off harsh. 92 proof, while higher than some of what I drink, isn’t high enough to warrant this much whiskey bite. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear this is a young bourbon. I’ll have to chalk that up to their aging facilities at 35 Maple Street. Cloves and cinnamon are present, giving Bib & Tucker a nice baking spice profile. As it rolls across your palate, biscuit and kettle corn pick up. And there are some other flavors in the mix as well… grassy, maybe bell pepper notes, even hits of anise and cardamon… but just slightly so. They’re enough to add interest, but not enough to add character.
The finish is long and warm. Lingering white pepper and clove notes stick around well after you’ve swallowed.
But I’m missing vanilla and caramel. I need my toasty barrel notes. I don’t care what whiskey I’m drinking (unless it’s Speyside Scotch Whisky) I want my vanilla and caramel. If you can swing some walnut/hazelnut/almond into that mix, all the better. And Bib & Tucker is missing that. Yes, there’s a hint of vanilla on the nose, but zero across the tongue.
So yes, I like this whiskey just fine. But at $55 a bottle, I expect more. Four Roses Small Batch comes in around $20 a bottle cheaper and is smoother with more barrel notes. In spite of its name, Bib & Tucker just isn’t that civilized. But I suppose they couldn’t exactly name it “Lipstick on an Pig.”
Final Rating: 81 out of 100