Barrel finishes have become exceedingly popular in American whiskey these days. So at first glance, you’d be forgiven for failing to find the novelty in Lucky 7’s latest release, The Frenchman. It’s a high-octane, non-age statement bourbon finished in new French oak barrels. Yeah, it’s been done before. But here’s the thing: Lucky Seven is not a typical bourbon brand. And this is not your typical barrel-finished bourbon.
“What makes this expression so special is the process we go through to get the juice into a secondary barrel,” explains co-founder Michael Lahalih. “We don’t blindly dump bourbon into a barrel for finishing. Prior to the juice going into that second barrel, every drop is sampled and blended with other barrels offering similar tasting notes and profiles. This is done to ensure that there are no competing flavors and it can live up to its maximum potential.”
As it finishes, the bourbon is tested daily by master blender Ashley Barnes to make certain it departs the barrels right as it enters its sweet spot. “It’s our belief that only meticulous care can achieve this result,” adds Lahalih. So-called “over-oaking” can arise in a moment’s notice, particularly when dealing with virgin cooperage.
Lahalih started Lucky 7 with his best friend from college, John Pals. The duo share a pronounced passion for whiskey and cinema, which explains why their bottles make repeated references to Hollywood—wearing labels fashioned to look like movie tickets.
Ironically, The Frenchman could best be described as a showstopper. In the nose you’ll pick up cinnamon buns drizzled with maple syrup (Is this even a thing? Because it should be).
On the palate it drops a payload of tobacco and gingerbread spice, which fizzles out to reveal menthol undertones. Despite this blockbuster flavor, it sips silky smooth, belying a 113-proof backbone.
Released earlier this year, The Frenchman is set to be a part of Lucky 7’s core collection, retailing at $80 a bottle.Get it
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