With Castle & Key Small Batch Straight Bourbon, the nose opens up very light sweet honey and fresh fruit (green apple), and then the oak takes over. It is a light oak that does not last very long. The aroma almost disappears, and then the light oak comes back, which seems to be the theme for the rest of the tasting. There’s a little bit of sugary sweetness that peeks through the oak from time to time on the nose.
The palate from the first sip is very youthful and almost a little harsh. Castle & Key Small Batch Bourbon drinks hotter than its 98 proof, suggesting that it’s a young bourbon. However, there is flavor here. Oak and spice dominate from the very beginning. In time a sweet vanilla undercurrent begins to reveal itself. Sadly, there is no viscosity to the mouthfeel.
The finish is concise and mild as the spicy oak gets kicked up a notch on the finish. It is much hotter on the roof of the mouth than going down the esophagus.