Store Pick Series – Cork & Bottle O.K.I. Single Barrel #184


“Happy Holidays!” 106° – $60

Mashbill: 60% Corn, 36% Rye, 4% Malted Barley


Cork & Bottle has been serving the greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky market for decades, but recently came under new ownership in 2014.  Since then, the talented staff have made Cork & Bottle a destination, especially so for private store picks of bourbon, rye, and other spirits.

These selections are made by the spirits buyer, Ed Bley.  Ed has garnered quite a loyal following, due to his proven track record of choosing great selections for the store; so much so that there are groups dedicated to chasing his picks and many sell on secondary sites for multiple times their retail value.  Often times they sell out the same day they are released; this O.K.I pick was gone in less than half an hour.  Due to this reputation I felt compelled to review one, and I was lucky enough to be present when this bottle was put out.

Spices abound on the nose; they leap from the glass.  Cinnamon, clove, allspice, and so much more.  Underneath that are aromas of caramel and vanilla, classic aromas in any bourbon, but very well integrated here.  Hints of fig and cherry come through, and some barrel notes show on the back end.

On first taste you are greeted by those familiar spices.  Then the fruit, which was subtle aroma wise, pushes through strongly.  Cherry jam and more fig, rounded out by sweet cream and some drying wood tannings.  As your palate acclimates to the alcohol the cream becomes more noticeable and is joined by a buttery note.  Not to be overly pretentious, but this honestly is reminiscent of a holiday cake.

Structurally balanced and full bodied, this pour has a great mouthfeel.  There is a bit of viscosity that coats your mouth, and a pleasant warmth envelops your throat when you swallow.  Spice and oak tannin linger, giving a long lasting finish.  Overall this is a fantastic bottle of bourbon, a great showing of O.K.I. and MGP in general.  While this bottling is long gone, many single barrels go in and out of Cork & Bottle’s doors.  If you find yourself in Northern Kentucky, I’d highly suggest stopping in.  4.5/5


* All reviews are subjective and purely express my own opinion.  Ratings are independent of one another, just because bottle A has 4/5 doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better than bottle B with 3.5/5.  Lastly, my ratings are not quantifiable, I am not assigning aroma a certain number of points and mouthfeel another, it’s just my overall thoughts summed up in a number. *