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Review: Jefferson’s Presidential Select 18 Year Bourbon

Jefferson’s Presidential Select 18 Year small batch bourbon is perhaps one of the most requested whiskey reviews I get asked about. So this one is a long time coming. The answer to the question of whether or not this is actual Stitzel-Weller bourbon is simple. Yes – this is from the same distillery that started the Van Winkle line. The distillery is known for their wheated bourbon mashbill, which is absent any rye grain. Below are my tasting notes on this old wheater.

Jefferson’s Presidential Select 18 Year Bourbon, Batch 13, 47% abv (94 Proof), $80/bottle
Color: Deep Amber/Copper
Nose: A heady mix of rum soaked dried fruits (raisin, dates), pancake syrup, toasted almonds, caramelized banana, vanilla wafers, old leather, and oak. Air time ramps up the wood influence quite a bit.
Palate: Toffee, fig preserves, vanilla, and heaps of oak and resiny grip.
Finish: Toffee sweetness, rich fruit, and wood make for a marvelous ending.
Overall: Jefferson’s 18 year old bourbon certainly packs a complex and flavorful punch. It’s layered with rich, sweet aromas and flavors. The whiskey drinks its age with a heavy wood influence, but the results can only be described as a superb whiskey. Highly recommended.
Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 9.2 (Superb/Outstanding)

65 Comments

  1. Josh says:

    I have been fortunate to receive 1-2 bottle allocations of Pappy for the past 5 years. I also saw the JPS 17 and 18 on the shelf, but never went for them due to the $90+ price tag and still knowing that they were S-W stock but more or less what was left over rather than honey barrels. I hear a lot of people say well if you can’t get a Pappy, your next best bet would be a JPS. As we know, JPS (S-W) is pretty much a distance memory now except for a for JPS18 still on dusty shelves. Well, I stumbled across a “off the beaten path” store and found 6 bottles of JPS 17 year Batch 3. I guess it’s one of those things now, knowing it is extremely difficult to find the JPS17 and Pappy is getting harder to procur a bottle (I call Pappy the ghost bourbon) I went ahead and forked out the $100 asking price for 1 of the JPS 17 bottles to see how it matched up to Pappy 15. I did a side by side and without using big descriptive words this was my conclusion.

    Pappy 15:
    Nose (10)
    Moutful (10)
    Finish (10)

    JPS17:
    Nose (8.5)
    Mouthful (8)
    Finish (8.5)

    There is no doubt JPS17 is both a wheater and S-W, but the nose what not near as pronounced and the mouthful is much much thinner. I would almost say the JPS is closer to the Pappy 20 than the Pappy 15 in its characteristics.

    In conclusion, I agree if you can’t acquire any Pappy, give the JPS a try, but comparing apples to apples, Pappy is supreme…

    Will I go back and buy the remaining bottles of JPS17? No, not know, but if my current stock of Pappy dries up, I will be back there to buy a piece of S-W History (asssuming some else doesn’t find the same honey hole before then)…

  2. Joe says:

    I’m pretty sure I know where you found that JPS 17 (batch 3) since there is only one store in town where they still have some. I picked up a bottle for $90 a month or so ago and went back the next day to get another. The a-hole jacked the price up to $130 and I walked out. At that price you don’t have to worry about me grabbing it.

    You never did tell us if you got some of the 4RSmbLE12 that I pointed you to. I hope you did.

  3. Josh says:

    Joe:

    I went to Specs shortly after you mentioned that they had some, which caught me by surprise to start. I saw the “paper tag” inaide the glass case that read FRSB LE 2012 but what they actually had was the FRSB LE 2011. I pointed that out to them and Jules said that’s all that they had – mentioned the reason for the mix up could have been because they were the same sku number for both releases. I was unable to secure a bottle but still looking. Keep hearing great things about it. I would even be willing to overpay for it at a bar or restaurant just to give it a try..

  4. Joe says:

    That’s weird. I wonder if one of the employees kept a bottle or 2. If I remember correctly the day I told you about it they had 4 or 5 bottles when I called and I had them hold 2 for me. Jules is a good guy, but he told me that they weren’t going get anymore about a week before they got…more!

    Call Poison Girl and see if they have it at their bar. They have the best bourbon selection in town. If not, I’ll be glad to give you a pour out of my bottle.

  5. Josh says:

    Joe:

    I like Jules, but he blows a lot of smoke and has his favorites (KBD) that he pushes hard. I’ve got a pretty good stash Post-2007 bottlings and would be be more than willing to trade a pull of your FRSB 2012. Unfortunately, Poison Girl isn’t open during daylight hours and its hard for me to break away in the evenings with a 15 month old boy to take care of. Not sure what part of town you live, but I am up in Spring. I am very flexible during the week as I am in outside sales and always out and about. Feel free to contact me at joshwayne330@yahoo.com and maybe we can meet up for a pour sometime…

  6. DL says:

    Has anyone ever seen a bottle without the red wax seal? I own a bottle of batch 13 bottle 1000 but it does not have the red wax stamp or seal on the upper left of the bottle. Should I be worried?

  7. Joe says:

    DL that seal is only ornamental. So, I wouldn’t worry about it.

  8. Peter says:

    Jason,

    Will all batches of JPS 18 be SW juice?

  9. Peter, they should be. However being that this whiskey is sourced juice, and that is Jefferson’s model, one can really never know. But to my knowledge – yes it is.

  10. Peter says:

    Thanks for answering Jason, I really enjoy your site and constantly come back looking for new articles.

  11. Max S. says:

    Jason/ Peter,
    As far as I can tell you both the Jefferson’s Pres. Select 17 & 18 yr releases were all sourced and bottled from S-W barrels. The labels on the lower right corners will indicate it so. I have not come across any that did not state S-W on the labels. Obviously, the 21 year is not S-W.

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  13. John Weller says:

    I have recently come across a couple of stores with JP 18 batch 12 is this a new release

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