Nulu is just one of the latest in an ocean of small brands to have gained some traction in whiskey communities. The name is in reference to an alias for Louisville’s East Market District, blending “New” and “Louisville” together. Prohibition Craft Spirits (PCS), the distillery behind Nulu, are six years young with an expected variety of spirits being produced while their own whiskey ages. In the meantime, they’re sourcing from MGP for their bourbon, which is offered in single barrel bottlings, often as picks. The one I’ll be sampling today is a Total Wine pick from an acquaintance in Kentucky.
Nose: Upfront rickhouse aromas of sweet oak and warm caramel. The actual backbone brings typical craft youth to include corn mash with a little ethanol to back up the slightly dry lemon essence. Post-sip brings out caramelized orange peel and a more distinct vanilla, brown sugar, and bitters-like aroma.
Palate: Good, medium mouthfeel. Caramel corn with a little molasses and brown butter. Surprisingly chewy. Honeyed lemon, waxy nuts, and dare I say polenta.
Finish: Surprisingly strong and impressionable. Almonds and walnuts. The corn/cereal notes reemerge, followed by a bit of vanilla.
Looking at the whiskey itself, this Nulu pick is a good example of simple competence. There are impressions of more fully developed whiskey in here which, when combined with the rather full mouthfeel, leaves me feeling optimistic. Another 2 or 3 years in the barrel and I could see this turning into some mighty impressive stuff. However, I then remember that this is ultimately MGP distillate.
There was a time that I used to dismiss sourced whiskey altogether, regarding it as a figuratively cheap and inauthentic way to go about whiskey production. I’ve since warmed up to the idea and am more receptive to it, provided brands are transparent about the whiskey they ultimately sell. PCS are thankfully upfront about using MGP, and the whiskey in this pick is a more than solid foundation. My concern is how the profile of their own aged distillate will compare and, more importantly, if the differences that do emerge will ultimately be for the best. As with all whiskey, only time will tell.