They named Penelope bourbon after the new born daughter of one of the co-founders, Mike Paladini. He along with his life-long friend, Danny Polise, both from Basking Ridge, NJ, formed Penelope bourbon bottling Company. The description of the mash bill is a little puzzling. They indicate that it is a blend of three bourbons: Corn, Wheat, and Rye, all containing Malted Barley for the fourth grain component. In addition, they decline to disclose the actual mash bills of these three components. Their ages are stated as 3, 3, and 2 years, respectively. All that being said, Penelope is a sweet young bourbon that is very approachable, while not deep in flavor or complexity.
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Like the Bourbon, this is just not enough proof to get me excited. It’s especially disappointing knowing first-hand what the 4-5 year old Rye from Wilderness Trail (who contract distills this) can be at cask strength. At 110-115 proof (I’ve tried several batches in that range) they fight far outside of their weight class; at 83 proof this just misses everything. I feel like I can taste the water in the bottle which is a first for me. I appreciate their desire to be more moderately priced but if it sacrifices the overall experience it isn’t worth the savings.
I’m a fan of the folks who are currently making this on contract at Wilderness Trail. Unfortunately, what started as good bourbon has been watered down to 83 proof and all the character went with it. Knowing what is possible with the distillate I’d be happy to try it if/when they release a higher proof version.
The Maker’s Mark Private Select program is one of the most impressive private selection programs in the country. As such, it’s always enjoyable trying a new release because you get to taste a very specific combination of staves as selected by the group leading the pick (in this case Randall’s Wines & Spirits).
This release has a beautiful nose that invites you in to sniff around and stay awhile. I could have easily spent 30 minutes nosing it and pulling out new aromas as it continued to open up. The promise of layered dried fruit, spice cake, caramel, and cocoa was hypnotizing and required me to cut my nosing session short.