Sweetens Cove Spirits, the celebrity-backed whiskey brand named for an unassuming golf course in Tennessee, is out with another addition to its lineup, Sweetens Cove 22. Your first question might be the same as mine. What’s with the 22? Per the brand, 22 denotes the year this whiskey was released, 2022 (we’re a bit late to the game). While Sweetens Cove previously took a break from exclusively Tennessee-sourced bourbon with its Kentucky and Tennessee mashup cutely dubbed Kennessee, this latest offering is once again all Volunteer State juice; four different Tennessee bourbons aged five, six, eight, and 10 years and all blended by the careful hand of Master Blender Marianne Eaves.
While a slightly younger blend, this latest offering doesn’t sound appreciably different than the 2021 release except for one catch. Sweetens 22 was finished for an unspecified period in Scotch whisky casks from an undisclosed Speyside distillery (presumably single malt casks, but we’re not told specifically). That decision, per Sweeten’s marketing, was “inspired by the lineage of Tennessee bourbon and Scotch casks from Speyside.” Which, in a somewhat cryptic way, references the fact that ex-whiskey casks from Tennessee are used to age Scotch whisky. I think. Anyway, let’s see how it tastes!
The aroma is light and honeyed with subtle notes of peanut brittle, butterscotch, and vanilla cream. As it opens, a mix of grist and fresh oak give things a slightly dry edge. It’s pleasant and well-rounded but certainly the softest nose I’ve yet encountered from a Sweetens Cove release. The palate, at the stiffest proof yet from the brand, is another story. Things kick off with a punch of alcohol, not offensive but piquant enough to disorient for a moment until creamy caramel candies and butterscotch pudding arrive to tame some of the warmth. Notes of honey roasted peanuts and brown butter arrive on the midpalate, offering a savory richness. The finish is a tad lip-puckering with notes of dry citrus peel, peppered bacon, and heavy dashes of baking spice. Water is highly recommended to soften things up and keep that buttery, brown sugar profile rolling until the end.
B+ / $200 / sweetenscovespirits.com