Let down by the OHLQ bottle lottery…again? Santa forget to drop that Pappy off at your place?  Well, here is your opportunity to catch a true unicorn.

You will recall in November 2021, COWS released its Wilderness Trail Barrel Pick, “All the Single Barrels” (a ladies-only pick). This pick had dominant notes of a fresh baked cherry pie and clocked in at 112 proof.

COWS then collaborated with Adam Hines at High Bank to create a true unicorn.  We took the Wilderness Trail barrel with its sweet fruity notes and filled it with Batch #23 of High Bank’s Barrel Proof Whiskey War (117.5 proof).  We deliberately picked Batch #23 – on the nose there was a lemon rye bread with butterscotch; and the palate started off as a buttery Werther’s giving way to a gentle peppery lemon spice while the butterscotch re-emerged on the finish.  A nice viscousness.

The idea was to take the sweet fruity notes from the Wilderness Trail barrel and see how it mingled with High Bank’s award-winning high rye mash bill. We let the High Bank whiskey age in the Wilderness Trail barrel for 9 months.  And candidly (patting ourselves on the back), we think it came out as hoped:

 NAME – High Bank Barrel Select, Trail of Unicorn Tears (yes, this means the bottles will come with High Bank’s crossed pistols cap and black velvet bag)

PROOF – 117.2

AGE – ~4 years, 9 months

COLOR – Tawny (1.4 on the Whiskey Magazine Color Chart)

NOSE – A light charred oak aroma hits right.  Then a light cherry note drizzled with caramel along with the bready notes from both barrels.

TASTE – Truly the best of both worlds.  A delicate cherry fruit sauce coats the tongue right up front then shifts into a peppery oak note in the middle and fades into the back with a slight tobacco note.

FINISH – I would describe this as a medium/long finish.  The peppery oak notes continue on the finish but are softened by the emergence of a butterscotch note.

REVIEW – This did what we wanted it to do – pulled the notes from the used barrel and meshed them with a great distillate.  This bottle is a very nice balance and sweetness with the darker, spicier rye.

FINAL COMMENTS – This is a true unicorn.  We are not aware of other groups taking their pick barrels from one distillery and aging another distillate in the that barrel.  But we like to experiment and want you to have opportunities for truly unique expressions.  And, as a teaser, we have taken the same approach with a couple of other distilleries in Central Ohio and those barrels are resting peacefully.

Because this is a High Bank product, we will be conducting sales similar to the double oaked “D.O. or Die” last year.  High Bank and COWS will be hosting a tasting of the “Trail of Unicorn Tears” on Thursday, January 19 from 4:30p.m. to 6:30p.m.  The bottles will go on sale to COWS Friday morning and then later (assuming they don’t sell out) to the public.  The cost of the bottle will be determined soon (again, inclusive of the crossed pistol cap and black velvet bag).  Cheers!

Todd Sarver