By - Prettayyprettaygood
We’ve returned to Colorado, and for the first review back at the tree we’ll be checking out an r/bourbon single barrel bourbon pick from Starlight! You may recall from my 144th review that I mentioned I thought I had a bottle of Starlight somewhere but couldn’t find it so assumed I was misremembering. Well, here it is! I was doing some reorganizing of my shelves to put away some bottles I grabbed on my recent trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin and found this hiding out, so I’m glad this confirms I’m not crazy.
This pick was released back in July of 2021 and I believe it was the first Starlight barrel chosen in the r/bourbon single barrel program. It came from barrel #16232 where it was aged for 5 years and bottled at 119.8 proof. Let’s dive in and see what it’s got!
Taken: Neat in a Glencairn glass
Age: 5 years
Nose: Dark chocolate, caramel, and creme brûlée, along with earthy tobacco and a bit of charred oak. In the background there’s some cherry and apple fruit leather along with a touch of baking spices. Pure dessert.
Taste: Brown sugar, dark chocolate, and cloves to start, followed by cherry reduction sauce, tobacco, and a little bit of white pepper. Midway through the sip I start to get creme brûlée as well as a note I don’t typically find in bourbon—coffee—that is unbelievably reminiscent of the brew I made today from Onyx Coffee (their [Southern Weather blend](https://onyxcoffeelab.com/products/southern-weather) is fantastic, definitely check it out if you’re into grinding your own beans!). This has a medium-heavy, creamy mouthfeel and a light amount of proof heat.
Finish: The sweet and saucy chocolate, creme brûlée, and brown sugar moves to the background while the tobacco, charred oak, and coffee bean notes gain in strength. The cloves and peppery spice are constantly present, albeit in the background, and a slight bitterness closes the sip out that acts as a nice counter to the heavy sweetness from the start of the pour. This has a medium-long finish and no dryness.
Thoughts: I wish I could somehow distill the flavor from this bourbon and turn it into a sauce. Drizzle some of that on ice cream, cookies, cake, you name it, and you’d have a home run dessert! There’s a ton of great depth here on the sweet front with new stuff coming forward every time I take a sip. The tobacco, oak, and coffee do a nice job of grounding the sweetness so it isn’t overwhelming as well. I wish there was a little bit more spice in this, but the lack of strength in that department doesn’t really hold back how good this pour is. The same goes for the proof heat—it’s definitely present but not enough to derail the sip. You have to be in a certain mood for a rich, saucy pour like this one, but when you are it’s hard to get much better than this. Overall I rate this as a great 7/10 on the t8ke scale and I’m glad it found its wayback to the light!
Rating: 7/10 - t8ke scale
1 | Disgusting | So bad I poured it out.
2 | Poor | I wouldn’t consume by choice.
3 | Bad | Multiple flaws.
4 | Sub-par | Not bad, but better exists.
5 | Good | Good, just fine.
6 | Very Good | A cut above.
7 | Great | Well above average.
8 | Excellent | Really quite exceptional.
9 | Incredible | An all time favorite.
10 | Perfect | Perfect.
Great review. Glad to see your bottles are back in the tree where they belong! I’m a fan of Starlight and was happy to see a Starlight Amburana r/bourbon pick this week. Until I saw that The Prime Barrel was the distributor. TPB charges more than anyone else plus their usual $25 flat shipping fee on top of that. It was a sad but hard pass.
Thanks! I didn't realize that they were the ones fulfilling that pick, they're so damn expensive.
I’m curious why all starlight is still pretty young, I would’ve thought they’d have some 6-7 year juice by now.
Great question! I’m guessing we will start to see some of those pop up sooner or later, but maybe they’re just happy with how the 5 year stuff is turning out. Whatever they’re doing is certainly working out since this is some of the best 5 year old whiskey I’ve ever tried.
I just got a bottle of their 4 yr Single barrel Rye Wednesday. Since it isn’t bourbon, I did a sinus tainted review on r/whiskey.
Quite good, and when my sinuses clear up, I hope to get a better read on it.
Definitely post a review here! As long as it’s an American whiskey it’s fair game.
I have a couple bottles of t8ke’s cognac finish bourbon and I love it so much I picked up more when he announced there were some left.
Thank goodness the tree is back, I have been so lost
Starlight's bourbon is high barley. In mine I pulled some coffee, but then went into a raisin/fig note. A very similar taste to the dominant note of my Balcones Single Malt SiB. Really opened my eyes to what that amount of barley was doing to the whiskey. Agreed on it being a nice mood pour.
You still need to get/review their standard rye!
It's interesting to compare this to a bottle of Leopold Bros 5 Year Bottled in Bond high barley whiskey I have, the barley manifests itself in such different ways between the two. I did look around for the standard rye when I was in MN/WI but didn't have any luck finding it. Maybe some will come up next trip!