DSR – PA – 002: David E. Pennsylvania Straight Bourbon Whiskey Double Oaked
Company/Distillery: Hidden Still Spirits
Location: Lebanon, Pennsylvania
Mash Bill: 70% Corn, 20% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Age Statement: A minimum of 2 years
Proof/ABV: 97 Proof/48.5% ABV
Color & Viscosity: David E. Straight Bourbon Whiskey Double Oaked is dark auburn to light mahogany in color. This whiskey produces a thick viscous line on the side of the glass. Legs are very slow to develop, but progress briskly to the belly of the tasting vessel.
Purchase Price: $45.99 from Fine Wine & Good Spirits, Lancaster, PA – March 2021; 750 ml
Bottle Label Information:
“David E. Pennsylvania Straight Bourbon Whiskey”
“Batch No. 1 | Bottle Date: 9/20 | Bottle No. 533”
“Small Batch | Hand Crafted”
“No. 4 Char Double Oaked”
“Distilled in the Keystone State | Handcrafted”
“Hidden Still Spirits”
“Distilled, Aged & Bottled by Hidden Still, Inc. Lebanon, Pennsylvania”
“Since 1753, Central Pennsylvania has been producing premium spirits, and we at Hidden Still Spirits are committed to building upon that tradition. To learn more about Hidden Still Spirits and the passion behind our products, visit hiddenstillspirits.com.”
“Aged A Minimum of 2 Years”
Hidden Still Spirits
Located in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Hidden Still Spirits was founded in 2014 by David Stein. Mr. Stein’s distillery is the first distillery to open in Lebanon since well known Michter’s Distillery, also known as Bomberger’s, left the area in 1989. Stein, who himself had a passion for bourbon whiskey, set out to bring a business to Lebanon that would become an attraction to young professionals in Lebanon, PA. He was hopeful that this younger working class would keep their talents within the county, as opposed to leaving for bigger cities. The distillery originally opened at the Hauk Manufacturing Building in Lebanon, however, it has since moved to its current location at Hershey Company Recycling Facility in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Hidden Still Spirits’ production is currently overseen by Master Distiller, Coty Edwards and Distiller Pete Phillips. Hidden Still Spirits operates using the popular “Grain to Glass” philosophy. In order to make their spirits, the distiller sources locally grown grains and limestone water. After the mash has been used, it is provided to local farmers for the purpose of feeding their livestock. Production at the facility currently fabricates three hundred 53-gallon barrels per year. The distillery sincerely hopes to see that level more than triple in the near feature.
Current offerings from Hidden Still Spirits include David E. Pennsylvania Straight Bourbon Whiskey – Black Label (aged 3 years; 91 Proof), David E. Pennsylvania Straight Bourbon Whiskey – Red Label (aged 3 years; 84 Proof), David E. Pennsylvania Straight Bourbon Whiskey – Yellow Label (aged 2 years; 80 Proof), David E. Pennsylvania Straight Rye Whiskey, David E. Pennsylvania Straight Rye Whiskey – Double Oaked, 12 Bar Rye Whiskey, Hidden Still Spiced Rum, Hidden Still Aged Rum, Union Canal White Rum, Screwhead Shine, Mad Crayfish Vodka, Blue Eyed Six (100% Corn Whiskey), Hidden Still Agave Spirit, Hidden Still Barrel Finished Gin, and Hidden Still Gin.
Visit the Hidden Still Spirits website for more information on their distillery and future special releases.
David E. Pennsylvania Straight Bourbon Whiskey Double Oaked
David E. Pennsylvania Straight Bourbon Whiskey – Double Oaked uses the distillery’s customary mash bill of 70% corn, 20% rye, and 10% malted barley. After distillation, the spirit is aged for 2 years in a Kelvin Cooperage new American oak 53-gallon barrel. The bourbon is then transferred to a second, brand new Kelvin Cooperage barrel and aged an additional 8 months prior to being bottled at 48.5% Alcohol by Volume/97 Proof. The distillery offers this Double Oaked product at $45.99 on site.
Tasting Date/Vessel: May 23, 2021 – Neat in Glencairn Glass; Then with a few drops of distilled water.
Christian: In the bottle, David E. Straight Bourbon Whiskey Double Oaked emits aromas of soft milk chocolate, tobacco, and a touch of inexpensive store bought caramel sauce. This opening salvo is quite exciting! In my Glencairn glass, the nose is nothing like that of the bottle’s nose. My first nosing of the whiskey brings forth a strong woodsy characteristic, which is not that of oak but more in line with cedar. As I swirl the glass lightly and return it to my nose, the cedar begins to dissipate and gives way to black cherries and honey. A second, more forceful, swirl allows a slight waft of crisp green apple dipped in Marzetti’s Light Caramel Dip. The addition of distilled water allows a touch of brown sugar, maple, and cinnamon to appear in the nose. There is still a touch of cedar wood here that hangs around.
Mike: Straight from the bottle, this whiskey offers an interesting aroma. I am immediately reminded of Tootsie Roll candy followed by heavy cured tobacco notes, then chocolate syrup rounds out the nose. From the glass, I detect a hint of young ethanol that transitions to lighter tobacco aromas. The flavors shift to cinnamon spiced pureed fruit, perhaps a mix of apple and pear sauce. A swirl of the glass releases more ethanol tones and mutes the bouquets of tobacco and fruit. As the glass settles, I discover a faint hint of dried cherries.
Christian: This whiskey is much thinner than expected, now that is has hit my tongue. The first sip is rather sweet on the tip of my tongue. This quickly transitions to loads of oak which take on a bit of bitter tone to them – reminiscent of chewing on a stick. As I swirl the whiskey then take another sip, I begin to notice a light hint of leather and black pepper. Slightly one dimensional here. The distilled water makes this whiskey light and the consistency of water. The bitterness remains on the tongue. The flavor turns to an oak stick dipped in caramel sauce and toasted brown sugar.
Mike: As I raise the glass to my mouth for the first sip, I get an abrupt sweetness on the lips. The sweetness rapidly succumbs to a thin and dry mouthfeel and a young spicy bite. Notes of browns sugar progress mid-palate then a dry alfalfa hay flavor identifies itself. As I hold a sip of this whiskey on my palate, the oak flavors expound as do suggestions of rich tobacco.
Christian: This double oaked offering has a medium to long finish. A strong tingling sensation builds on my tongue and wells up from deep in my throat. At first I notice a finish that reminds me of roasted peanuts. This quickly gives way to sweet alfalfa hay and a grilled peach slice. Just a touch of char is added to the mouth, just like the char from the grill marks on the peach. The addition of water seems to intensify the black pepper element in the finish. This is accompanied by a slight taste of pie crust and cinnamon. The stone fruit seems to disappear here, with water added, but it seems as if a dark chocolate note wants to try and move forward. Dry roasted peanuts also remain late on the palate.
Mike: David E. Straight Bourbon Whiskey Double Oaked offers a medium finish. Brown sugar and stone fruit linger on the palate. An agreeable smoky or charred oak bite matures late. What little burn this whiskey has is detected very late as a soft cinder in the throat. Overall, a very satisfying offering.
Christian: This was my first introduction to a Hidden Still Spirits product. My past experience with double oak products set me up to expect deep rich flavors that are bold, sweet, and robust. The David E. Pennsylvania Straight Bourbon Whiskey just seems to be lacking that development in flavors that other older double oaked products typically bring. Personally, I think this whiskey needs time to breathe before jumping in to nose. The longer we allowed it to sit in the glass and become oxidized, the better the nose became. There is still a decent amount of ethanol in heat in this, most likely from its overall young age. Honestly, I think the product just needs more time – which I know is expensive and pain staking in the whiskey industry. But I truly believe extended aging in the first cask with a year our more in the second would really allow this whiskey to smooth its rough edges and allow more complex and richer flavors to develop for the consumers enjoyment. This double oaked offering just seems rushed and doesn’t meet its true potential.
Rating: 2.45 Rickhouses
Mike: Going into this week, I know that I have become a fan of another distillery’s double oaked offerings so I was looking forward to trying this one out of Pennsylvania. I was definitely not disappointed! It has a very unique nose with a slightly pedestrian mouth and overall smooth finish. It carries a rare (at least to me) proof of 97, I find it easy sipping and affordable compared to other double oaked offerings. What is interesting to me about this bourbon from Hidden Still Spirits is they have 3 other bourbon offerings from the mash bill. Two of those offerings are 3 years old and one is 2 years old. This offering uses the bourbon that is aged for 2 years then double oaks it for 8 additional months. I’d really like to try this using the 3 year old bourbon that is double oaked for 8 to 12 months.
The Rickhouse Ramblings men appreciate a friend providing this bottle to us on a recent trip and hoping he is willing to do it again as we’re intrigued about the other offerings from Hidden Still Spirits.