I.W. Harper Gold Medal, 4yo, 1970s bottling, 40%

Back in the day, before Bourbon became as massively booming as it is today, you could pick up bottles on the cheap from auction. I once had a bottle of Old Crow, bottled in 1970, for which I paid about € 30. This one was a little bit more recent, but I didn’t pay more than € 45 either.

It must have been around 2014 or so, so we’re talking about an almost 40 year old bottle, for the price of a daily drinker. Can’t say I feel robbed…

Some Googling tells me I.W. Harper is a Diageo owned brand with whisky that comes from Bernheim distillery in Kentucky. Interestingly, it seems to not have been available between the mid-nineties and 2015.

Currently there’s a NAS version, and a 15 year old which I tried last year. This one I’m tasting here is four years old, so somewhere in the last 45-odd years they did change that.

Sniff:
It’s definitely sweet and spicy, with a lot of dry black pepper notes at first. Some sawdust and a slightly chemical sweetness. There’s clove, cinnamon and orange rind. Quite crisp.

Sip:
The palate continues with the dryness. It’s actually quite intense for a 40% whisky. There’s definitely some oak here, but it’s not overpowering. Black pepper, orange, ground clove. Some dark caramel, or burnt sugar.

Swallow:
The finish brings the oak and the slightly bitter orange to the front, but only to quickly be replaced by some vanilla and pepper.

It’s a bit of a two faced bourbon, because I tried it a little while ago and thought the bottle had gone bad, but now it’s actually quite fine. The cloudiness that I saw then seems to have gone away, which I think is a good thing.

Because of this, it is quite a bit better than I remembered it. The hints of orange are nice, as is the dry oakiness. And luckily, it’s not too sweet at all!

85/100

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
This entry was posted in - American Whiskey, - Bourbon, I. W. Harper and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s