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Thursday, April 28, 2022

EXCLUSIVE: Watershed and OHLQ to release Six Single Barrel Bourbon Selections - Starting May 2

The Ohio Division of Liquor Control (OHLQ) and Columbus based Watershed Distillery will have six unique single barrel selections exclusive for Ohio customers available at select stores beginning May 2. I was fortunate enough to have been invited to a pre-release event to learn more and sample the six expressions (I'm an influencer now!!). 

Greg Lehman, CEO of Watershed Distillery says:
Partnering with OHLQ on these barrel selections again this year has been a highlight of the spring season at Watershed. It’s exciting to see Ohio Liquor continue to expand their single barrel program, and we are really proud of these picks.

For this release, 15 barrels were selected by the team at Watershed. Of those, six were selected by a team from the State. Most of the bottles were selected from the bottled-in-bond barrels using a 3-grain mashbill (more on that below). The six barrels: 

  • Confectioner’s Cask - Warm rising notes of fresh baked goods, softened with a confectioner’s arsenal of brown sugar and hints of vanilla frosting, finishing with pockets of baking spice (126.3 proof). 

    My Initial opinion - My favorite of the six. Picked up the caramel and was smooth going down. For a single barrel, I found this light and easy to drink, while having plenty of flavor. 

  • Bourbon Buckeye - A one bite delicacy starting with a touch of cocoa that fades into off-the-press Belgian waffles, finishing with notes of tapped maple and brown butter (126.2  proof).

    My initial opinion - A bit stronger tasting than the Confectioner's cask. Pretty solid. Contributor Jonny G preferred this over the Confectioner's Cask. 

  • Ohio Dutch Apple - Light notes of new smoke give way for a floral hinting honeycomb made by apple tree pollinators (140.6 proof).

    My initial opinion - I've never tried a bourbon with this high of a proof, however, it was surprisingly drinkable straight. That was a pleasant surprise. We picked up flavors of apple. There was obviously a nice Kentucky hug, but it wasn't overwhelming. This was Jon's favorite of the 6.  

  • Malt Shop - A burst of heat pops on the tongue with notes of toasted oak, as the flavor mellows into waffle cone topped with French vanilla (130.7 proof). 

    My initial opinion - We picked up hints of chocolate. No complaints with this one.  

  • Rich Lemon Pie - Baking spice links up with ginger to give hints at vanilla forward pie crust, as citrus notes pop into a gentle vanilla meringue (128.3 proof). 

    My initial opinion - I didn't write anything of note on this good or bad. 

  • Crème de la Crème Brulée - Familiar notes of deep toasted oak are mellowed by butterscotch candies, finishing as stovetop sugars turning to caramel (121.49 proof).

    My initial opinion - This is the last barrel made from the original Watershed five grain mashbill. It comes in at 5 years old. This was my least favorite. I didn't care for the aftertaste and it felt harsh drinking. However, if you're a fan of the original Watershed mashbill, this is one you're definitely going to want to search out as it may be your last chance to purchase. 
As mentioned, these bottles will be available starting May 2 and carry a $59.99 + tax price. Additionally, anyone looking to try all six can attend a special dinner at Watershed Kitchen + Bar on Wednesday, May 11. Tickets to the dinner include a sampling of all single barrel bourbon offerings and the option to buy up to four of the six expressions in the bottle shop. You can purchase tickets to the dinner at Watershed’s OpenTable Experience page for $125 a person.

My Take

A huge thank you to Watershed for including me in the pre-release event and allowing myself and Jon to try the six expressions coming May 2. My favorites were the Confectioner's Cask and the Ohio Dutch Apple. I've never seen a proof as high as the Dutch Apple and was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to drink. If you're looking for a way to support an Ohio distillery, this is a release definitely worth checking out. I'll have an update once the dedicated product locator page on the State website is live.  

What do you think? Drop a note in the comments below. 

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