Updated: Jan 22, 2021
Yellowstone Bourbon (1970s) - 45.5%
I came up in bourbon when everyone was rolling out a barrel proof or 110+ expression. At those ABVs, there was an adjustment period. I trusted short term discomfort would lead to long term rewards - more complexity and flavor. Mostly, it delivered. Problem was, unless I was sipping with a certain kind of drinker, all but the really exceptional bottles played too hot. Many prefered a less complex but more approachable bottled in bond. Then I started drinking other spirits. Plenty of rums handled their 120+ ABV better than most the bourbon I was buying. Quality armagnac delivered more complexity usually at sub-110 proof. Low distillation proof tequila delivered good weight and clarity with solid structure at sub-90 proof. Well-aged cognac and calvados also delivered at closer to 80 proof. The bonus: people I shared with didn't need previous experience or tutorials on adding water to spirits (not as easy as you may think). They could immediately engage with what was in the glass.
This 1970s Yellowstone should be Glenmore juice produced at the Shively distillery before it shut down (1985) in favor of the Owensboro distillery. The 1970s marked the decline of Yellowstone. A far fall, when just back in 1966 it was Kentucky's most popular brand.
Nose: Buttery burnt sugars. Light butterscotch. Candied orange. Vanilla cream. Welcome to the candy shop. There's a little bit of earthy, musty wood hanging around.
Flavor: Really fun vanilla cola thing happening. Rich caramel. Light oak/herbal backbone. Finish goes cola again and laying down a little ginger root, cardamom, herbal craft soda vibe.
Structure: Fat up front. Slow escalation. Slow to come back down.
Alcohol Integration: This is dense and rich. Drinks like low distillation proof tequila and I dig it.
Score: 7 (Highly Recommend) If I could find a daily driver that handled like this for under $40, I'd be set. Profiles like this are why I've been drinking more old-school tequila. Low proof, dense, and flavor packed. You won't get the long finish burn or active structures that we've all grown accustomed to, but it's not thin or lacking intensity like some 80 proof bourbon dusties.
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Source: Mike Veach has a great run down of the brand HERE.