Review: J. Mattingly Bourbon Barons Private Barrel “The Italian Job”

Jealous?  You should be.  This is a private barrel select from a local group here in the Atlanta area from the Bourbon Barons group.  The only way to score one of these is to be a member of the Bourbon Barons.  Some of the proceeds from the sale of these bottles went to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, so not only did we get a great one-of-a-kind Mattingly pick, but we also are helping a great cause.  Just Baron things, amirite?

This Mattingly blend (rumored MGP) comes in a whopping 134 proof, but drinks closer to 100.  The color is an enticing deep mahogany and the off-white label makes for a stunning contrast.  Adorned with the Bourbon Barons and Mattingly logo on one side, we can flip the bottle to find this sweet  “The Italian Job” sticker on the rear.  Cap it off with a white wax dip and you’ve got yourself a stunning bottle for the shelf.  But what’s the point if we don’t crack it open and try it?


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The nose is first met with the alcohol burn associated with higher proof spirits.  It’s 134 proof, so what do you expect?  Allow your nose to become acclimated to the high proof and then reevaluate.  You’ll discover notes of leather and orange peel, oak, brown sugar and caramel.  Dive in for a taste and you’re met with honey, leather, oak, brown sugar and a hint of vanilla.  The finish kind of just falls a little flat.  You have the remaining warmth from the alcohol and the oak hangs out for a moment, then it sort of just fades away.  A few drops of water accentuate a bit of the flavor, but completely kills the finish.  Overall a great pour and if you know anyone that got one, see if they’ll give you a taste.  Normally I’d talk a bit about value, but considering that a portion of the bottle price went to a charity, we’re going to skip that part this time around.

The Bourbon Barons are coming out of the gate strong with this first private barrel.  Founded only a few months ago, we’ve already had this barrel pick released and there’s another already in the works which they’re doing in collaboration with former Castle and Key Master Distiller Marianne Eaves.

Their mission statement reads as follows:

“Bourbon Barons is an Atlanta-based group that caters to bourbon and whiskey enthusiasts. The goals of the group are to bring all manner of people together through a common passion, and to raise money for charities through engaging and exciting opportunities. The group’s core beliefs are focused on the love of good drink, good friends, and good will.”

I’ve been a member of a few different bourbon groups over the past couple of years and I can honestly say that these are some of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure to interact with.  There’s a real sense of community and a willingness to help one another in our common interests.  I look forward to more dealings with them and am excited for things to come.  If you’re in the Atlanta area and reading this, consider looking them up.  Cheers!

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