• Seth

Thirteenth Colony Distilleries Sour Mash Bourbon Whiskey (Special French Oak Finish) Review

Surprisingly complex for a two-year bourbon. The French Oak Finish from this store pick makes it worth trying.

Type: Sour Mash Bourbon Whiskey (Special French Oak Finish)

Distillery: Thirteenth Colony Distilleries

Proof: 105

Age: "Two years or more"

Price Paid: $38.99

*Note that the bottle I purchased for review is not the standard offering, but a "Special French Oak Finish" selected by The Bottle Shop.


Surprisingly deep amber in the bottle. It looks like imitation maple syrup in color. If I hadn't read the label, I'd think it was a much older bourbon. When I pour it in the glass, it looks several shades lighter.


The alcohol is present, but oddly not overpowering. At 105 proof and just 2 years old, I expected this to burn my nose, but it's more pleasant than I expected. There's a definite note of something extra with this (the French Oak Finish), though it's hard to pinpoint the aroma. It's similar to a vanilla extract, but with a different kick. It's not overly complex, yet it's still appealing.


It wasn't present on the nose, but I can immediately taste the 105 proof here. The heat gets on your tongue immediately. They did a nice job with the proof on this one as the mouthfeel is solid and not too thin. There is a noticeable amount of rye with this pour. Beyond that, there are hints of the standard bourbon notes, I also get some all-spice and floral bits, but it's pretty apparent this isn't a routine bourbon. Like with the nose, there's an extra flavor here that's hard to pinpoint. It's a dry, oaky flavor, but not one found in most bourbons. I've had a similar time trying to describe many bourbons with cognac finishes. Overall, the taste is unique but enjoyable.


The heat comes on immediately but dissipates quickly. It lingers for just a bit, then it's gone. The finish is oily and surprisingly smooth, but there is a bitter character to it, especially when you sip a little heavy.


I can't speak for the standard offering, but I enjoyed the French Oak Finish that I tasted, and I didn't really expect to. It's not going to blow anybody away, but it's unique, and there's something to be said for that in a sea of similar bottles. This would be a great bottle to mix in with other, non-finished bourbons for a tasting. You're not going to find this unique profile anywhere else. For just two years old, I'm impressed.