Whiskey aficionados around the world eagerly anticipate this time of year as they prepare their lists of must-have bottles, seeking the rarest of finds to add to their collections or gift during the holiday season. Among these coveted treasures is The Vaults, an annual release from Brooklyn's own Widow Jane Distillery. The 2023 edition, a culmination of meticulous craftsmanship and unparalleled artistry, has been the subject of much anticipation and excitement in the world of whiskey enthusiasts.
What sets The Vaults 2023 apart is its distinct combination of Widow Jane's oldest and rarest whiskeys, sourced from Tennessee and Indiana. These exquisite spirits have been patiently aged for a minimum of 15 years, representing the epitome of aging and blending expertise. The magic happens in the blending process, which takes place in extremely small batches, ensuring the utmost attention to detail and quality. To add an extra layer of complexity, these remarkable whiskeys are then finished for three months in air-seasoned casks at Widow Jane's own Red Hook rickhouse. This release marks a significant milestone as it's the first national bourbon to bear the unmistakable stamp of Sienna Jevremov, who was named head distiller and blender in October 2022, a testament to Widow Jane's unwavering commitment to excellence.
The Vaults 2023 arrives on the scene with impressive credentials and an array of statistics that are sure to pique the interest of whiskey connoisseurs. It boasts a robust 49.5% alcohol by volume (ABV), or 99 proof, and has a suggested retail price (SRP) of $249 for a 750 ml bottle. This exclusive release is limited to just 2600 cases and can be found in select states, including AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, NC, NJ, NY, NV, OH, OK, PA, RI, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI, and Washington, D.C.
But what truly sets The Vaults 2023 apart are its exquisite tasting notes, which are a sensory delight for the palate. Upon the first inhale, the nose is graced with the subtle allure of toasted marshmallow, the comforting aroma of a pear turnover fresh from the oven, the sweetness of honeydew, and a hint of warming cinnamon. As you take your first sip, the palate unfolds with a symphony of flavors: honeycomb's golden sweetness, the creamy richness of butterscotch, the deep and fruity notes of raisin and molasses, the delightful essence of dried apricots, and a surprising twist of root beer. The finish is equally magnificent, offering a crescendo of pralines and cream, the intricate depth of roasted oolong tea, the nutty embrace of black walnut, and the sweet licorice that lingers, leaving a lasting impression.
Every release in The Vaults collection is a masterpiece of its own, defined by the unique wood used for finishing, with different woods sourced from various regions and seasoned to perfection. In the case of The Vaults 2023, the finishing barrels were crafted from Chinquapin Oak staves, harvested from trees grown on a limestone-rich shelf in Northern Kentucky. These staves underwent at least 48 months of air seasoning, enduring the dramatic weather shifts typical of the mid-South. The result is a whiskey that not only showcases the distillery's expertise but also the nuanced flavors contributed by the slow-growing KY white oak species, scientifically known as Quercus muehlenbergii. This oak variety imparts its own unique character, adding to the treasure trove of flavors that await those who partake in The Vaults 2023.
Sienna Jevremov, the talented head distiller and blender at Widow Jane, shared her thoughts on this remarkable creation, saying, "The Vaults allows us to explore the fascinating dimensions of both extended time resting and unique oak choices on the character of bourbon. Blending these exceptional bourbons from our Tennessee and Indiana stocks was a meticulous process, finding gems in the bunch, then layering in flavor through matchmaking of 15-year-old with 20-year-old whiskey. Finally marrying them with the distinct flavors of this slow-growing KY white oak species, the result of which is a spirit that whiskey collectors are sure to treasure."
It's important to note that, in keeping with Widow Jane's tradition of excellence, The Vaults 2023 is non-chill filtered and proofed with the pure limestone mineral water from the legendary Rosendale Mines of New York, located just 100 miles north of the distillery. This water source contributes to the whiskey's round, luxurious mouthfeel and its exceptionally long and satisfying finish.
As we celebrate the arrival of The Vaults 2023, it's essential to approach this exquisite bourbon with the same reverence and anticipation that one would offer a vintage wine. Ultra-aged whiskeys, like The Vaults, benefit from a few moments in the glass to open up, allowing you to explore its multi-layered flavor profile fully. Only then can you appreciate the complexity, artistry, and passion that have gone into creating this exceptional spirit.
In conclusion, The Vaults 2023 stands as a testament to Widow Jane's commitment to producing exceptional, rare, and meticulously crafted whiskeys that are cherished by collectors and enthusiasts alike. It's a limited-edition masterpiece that promises to be the highlight of any whiskey connoisseur's collection and a delight to those fortunate enough to experience its extraordinary flavors. Cheers to the remarkable craftsmanship that continues to define Widow Jane and the world of fine whiskey.
About Widow Jane Distillery
Widow Jane Distillery, located in Brooklyn, New York, is a unique and craft-focused distillery known for its distinctive approach to whiskey production. The name "Widow Jane" is inspired by a legendary, pristine limestone mine in Rosendale, New York, known for its pure and soft water source, a key ingredient in whiskey making.
The distillery's commitment to using this pure limestone water in their whiskey production is one of the brand's defining features. They source water from the Widow Jane Mine, renowned for its exceptional quality, to create their signature spirits. This water, rich in minerals, plays a significant role in shaping the flavor and character of Widow Jane whiskey.
Widow Jane is primarily known for its bourbon whiskey, which is made using a high corn mash bill, typically around 70% or more. Their bourbon is aged in American oak barrels and is known for its rich, smooth, and complex flavor profile. The combination of the high-quality limestone water and aging process gives Widow Jane whiskey a unique and sought-after taste.
In addition to their bourbon, Widow Jane offers various expressions and limited releases, showcasing their dedication to experimentation and craftsmanship. The distillery's commitment to producing small-batch, handcrafted whiskey reflects the broader trend in the craft spirits industry, where consumers increasingly appreciate unique and locally sourced products.
Widow Jane Distillery's creative approach to whiskey-making, their use of pristine limestone water, and their dedication to producing high-quality bourbon have earned them a reputation as a notable player in the American craft whiskey scene. Their unique flavor profile and commitment to quality make them a standout choice for whiskey enthusiasts.