This beautiful bourbon is so named after the distillers’ claims of barrel thievery. The back of the bottle confesses, “We went deep into the rickhouses of Kentucky’s most venerable bourbon distilleries and selected our favorite barrels, then brought them back to our distillery to blend into something greater than the sum of their parts.” What’s unclear from the literature the company provides is whether or not there’s any spirit distilled at St. George in there. If not, perhaps it had something to do with not wanting to associate a saint with theft. Oh, wait. But once you get your nose on this one, you realize the answer is irrelevant because you don’t care. You realize that it would’ve been worth it, would’ve served the greater good here if they’d gone further and stolen the marmalade present on the nose from a Mediterranean monastery filled with tonsured octagenarians who’ve taken a vow of silence and whose only source of joy is the orange spread they produce on toast with butter each morning. Well, that and the two hours of the Oprah Winfrey Network they pick up on the monastery’s satellite system thanks to a botched cell phone hacking attempt one of the younger Murdochs attempted on the CEO of Canal+ years before the merger with News Corp. But there are other surreptitious layers here on the nose if you wait for them: cloved banana stored in a baseball mitt (just wanted to see if Junior would notice that I’d replaced his favorite ball with it) alongside hints of imitation maple syrup being drizzled over German tangerine pancakes (the mix for which was shoplifted from Pänküchen, the most exclusive Deutsche flapjack store on the Upper East Side). If you give the nose a minute here, it moves deftly from velvety to pancakey to slightly industrial to smooth to super smooth.
Then the mouth furtively picks up where the nose leaves off: it’s like they smuggled the barrels out of Kentucky in sandpaper trucks, and then, once back at St. George, poured the liquid through a 500-grit sandpaper tube into a 1000-grit sandpaper coffee filter poised atop each bottle to fill it. The mouth also features hints of the lubrication from a well-oiled set of lockpicks, but only after it’s been flambéed in chocolate liqueur…and then in chocolate. The finish steals away quickly, but before it does, there are notes of sweet grain–not corn, perhaps wheat or rye–and spice and the faintest whiff of bitterness, bitterness we suspect traces back to the victims of this exceptionally smooth case of B&E back in Kentucky, who now find little solace in the spirit that was left behind.
The St. George Breaking and Entering Bourbon is Stalking Cat–If you don’t pay close attention, this one will end up right on top of you. Not like that’s a bad thing, though. Not in the least.
–Our thanks to Ellie and Lance Winters at St. George Spirits for the sample!