We first encountered this odd San Francisco-based operation’s whiskeys in 2018, when Gold Bar Authentic was the one expression in the marketplace. Now Gold Bar has expanded to a few choices, together with two bourbons. Just one is packaged within the “gold bar” decanter — though the “gold bar” bourbon is painted black — all of which have thankfully been up to date with a small wedge beneath that enables them to face up straight.
None of those whiskeys carries a proper age assertion, however what particulars we do have comply with.
Gold Bar Authentic Whiskey (2022) – Nonetheless a NAS mix of sourced whiskey from throughout America, with a closing mashbill of 88% corn, 9% rye, and three% barley, however that is technically not a bourbon, completed in California wine casks made from French oak. The general expertise stays bizarre, although higher than I remembered. Numerous toasty oak and vanilla up entrance, although I thankfully get much less of that onion character than final time round. It does stay pretty vegetal, nevertheless, with a potpourri character including a perfumed word. The palate is gentle and nearly skinny, fairly youthful and well-sweetened with notes of cereal milk and almond cookies, filtered via a sieve of ample wooden notes. It’s ultra-light on its ft for probably the most half, bready to the purpose of doughiness, although the end returns to its somewhat inexperienced, vegetal core. Total, no actual change in opinion from 4 years in the past. 80 proof. C+ / $45 [BUY IT NOW FROM GOLD BAR] [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]
Gold Bar Black Double Casked Bourbon – 80% Texas corn, 20% Oklahoma rye (distilled in Texas); matured in new American oak for 3 to six years, then completed in California wine casks. Attention-grabbing shade of orangey-pink. One other attention-grabbing expertise on the nostril, Gold Bar Black options hefty aromas of oak wooden, although they’re tempered by some spice, floral notes, and sesame seed. That’s somewhat washed away on the palate, which matches full throttle on the lumberyard — Texas whiskey dialed as much as 11 — aggressive with notes of mesquite, tar, and creosote. It melds weirdly with a gooey, molasses-like sweetness on the end, which feels pushed extra clearly by the wine barrel ending right here than within the Authentic, for higher or for worse. 92 proof. C / $53 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]
Gold Bar Rickhouse Cask Power Bourbon – Identical 80% corn, 20% rye bourbon; no age assertion. The one whiskey within the Gold Bar lineup that doesn’t come packaged in a facsimile of a gold bar (somewhat it’s in a reasonably conventional bottle), this can be a 103 proof straight bourbon that’s “matured in further charred new American oak then raked over French oak staves” for ending. I don’t understand how one rakes a bourbon — I presume this has the identical ending because the above — however let’s put that apart for now as a result of it could probably not matter. That is… troublesome stuff, rather more so than the Black expression. Overwhelming with over-charred wooden up entrance, the nostril is daunting and pushy, a mixture of burning lumber, spilled wine, and chimney soot, all whipped up with notes of fresh-milled grain. A lot of the identical awaits the drinker on the palate: The expertise is vegetal and completely dripping with oak parts, more and more inexperienced and pungent as time wears on. This isn’t a whiskey to let simmer in your glass to open up; it doubles down on the lumberyard and wholly dominates the senses. I may go on, however I believe I’ve painted a transparent sufficient image on this one. Surprisingly cheaper than the Black expression. 103 proof. D / $35 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]