This review of the complex tasting experience of the Penelope Bourbon Architect Series is based on the first few pours after opening a new bottle. Keep in mind that this bourbon gets better the longer you sip on it.
The nose is sweet, light, and airy. At the beginning of the tasting, there is a little bit of rye spice that is very mild, along with a lingering light fruit to the aroma. Then there’s a little bit of mint spice that makes this seem like a high-rye Bourbon. However, it is not. Only 7% of the mash bill is rye. Penelope Bourbon Architect Series has a complex nose but don’t expect it to overwhelm you once you open the bottle. The aromas are not overpowering.
I didn’t taste the bourbon immediately because I focused on the nose since I was enjoying its experience. After the initial nosing, I let the bourbon sit in the glass for about 30 seconds and then nosed it again. That is when the spice came to the forefront like a whirlwind--a brown sugar spice. However, these aromas seem to dissipate quickly once you nose them.
After the first few sips, I get more oak on the nose.
There’s no mistaking the flavor profile of the palate. The spice that comes on strong on the nose is there on the palate from the very beginning. Spice and oak. Oak and spice. It is even a little acidic. This spiciness seems to be coming from the wheat. The vanilla and caramel hide well below the other notes.
There is not much creaminess to the mouthfeel in the beginning. Initially, this is a somewhat thin-tasting bourbon. I was curious about what the French Oak staves were adding to the profile of this bourbon because the spice dominates the palate. However, the oak becomes more noticeable as you get deeper into the tasting experience.
Fortunately, it becomes a bit creamier and more buttery the deeper you get into the tasting. It also becomes much more enjoyable. It would be best if you let time and your saliva work with this.
This Penelope offering seems to be typical of these new batches of bourbon that are about four years old and do not have much weight (oily mouthfeel or viscosity, flavor density). Still, it is good.
The wheat and rye spice linger on the finish as well.
I do believe that this wheaty roughness to the taste is something that will get smoother after the bottle has been open for a while. This seems exactly like the type of bourbon that will change dramatically and get more flavorful with time.
I am looking forward to tasting this again in a few weeks.