Three Chord Twelve Bar Reserve Straight Bourbon Review
A unique new process with a long, time-delayed finish worth trying for yourself.
Type: Blend of straight bourbon
Distillery: undisclosed, distilled in Tennessee and Kentucky
Proof: 107 proof
Age: 12 years
Before I get into this review, a little background on Three Chord whiskey. All of their whiskey goes through a process they call “Perfectly Tuned Taste.” Per their website, "Our process begins by carefully selecting the finest bourbon and rye whiskeys from stocks in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana. Once the blend of spirits is assembled, 300 gallons at a time, we apply our proprietary process of pyrolysis — heating American oak to precise temperatures to release specific flavor and aroma compounds — and rhythmic disruption to integrate these compounds into the blended spirit. Finally, each small batch blend of Three Chord is evaluated by a trained sensory panel to ensure an uncommon depth of flavor, character, aroma and a “Perfectly Tuned Taste” in each bottle.
I don't know if that process produces better whiskey, but it is certainly unique! For more information on this release, check out their site.
Grape and a big vitamin note are what stand out first. There's also an underlying sweetness of honey and caramel. I get a little bit of oak, but it's secondary to the other elements.
The grape and mineral notes from the nose lead the palate as well. The grape note reminds me of some wine finished bourbons I've had, which is interesting because this has no cask finishing. I do need to say that the Flintstone vitamin element here is unmistakable, but it works ok in combination with the other flavors. Vanilla and caramel keep things sweet, while clove and smoky oak work to spice things up on the back end.
This is a medium to long finish, but it's delayed. At first, it seems there is very little finish, but as soon as you're ready to say it's done, it comes roaring into focus with cinnamon and oak and even a malty character. The finish packs more heat than expected and lingers for quite a while.
I don't know how much the tuning process alters the taste of this bourbon, but I can say that the flavor profile and the way it unfolds as you sip it is different than most. The proof is just right for this bottling. It's a smooth sipper but packs a kick on the back end. All in all, I think this is a unique bourbon that most should try. I say "most", because those of you that strongly dislike the vitamin note won't be able to avoid it here. That said, I think it works fine in this blend in conjunction with the red grape notes.
This sample was provided at no cost by Three Chord Bourbon. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
This is a general guide of what I consider each score range
4.75 - 5.00: Phenomenal. Hard to imagine anything better. Acquire at any cost.
4.25 - 4.50: Excellent. I'll camp out to get a bottle if necessary.
3.75 - 4.00: Great stuff. I'll buy backups if not too expensive.
3.25 - 3.50: Good stuff. Try to keep one on the bar, but don't spend too much.
2.75 - 3.00: Not bad. I don't regret the purchase, but may not buy another.
2.25 - 2.50: Sub-par. I regret the purchase. Reserved for mixed drinks.
1.75 - 2.00: Bad. I'll struggle to finish the bottle. May not want it in cocktails.
0.00 - 1.50: Drain-pour. Something seems wrong with it. Get it away.