Oregon’s Wolf Spirit Distillery recently announced their oldest whiskey to date in the Puncher’s Chance Bourbon line, “The Left Cross.”
Aged 14 years in wood rickhouses, The Left Cross was finished in freshly-dumped 12-year-old Jamaican rum casks for up to six months. The result is a nuanced spirit where the natural bourbon characteristics and the rum finishing co-exist.
A statement from Wolf Spirit explains that this expression was made under the stewardship of Master Distiller Kevin Curtis and Master Blender Stephen Hughes of IJW Whiskey Company.
Only 70 barrels of Puncher’s Chance Bourbon: The Left Cross are available. The team bottled the expression at 96 proof, and the liquid starts with a mash bill of 84 percent corn, eight percent malt and eight percent rye.
Aged in new American oak barrels, the whiskey features the notes of a long-matured bourbon, including vanilla, dark fruit, and warm oak.
The distiller’s notes explain that the rum finishing introduces Jamaican rum’s distinct “funk,” adding flavors of brown sugar, ripe bananas, and sweet baking spice, like a Bananas Foster. The finish is soft with the slightest hints of rum lingering.
The Left Cross is the second limited-edition release from Puncher’s Chance, the American whiskey from Wolf Spirit, out of Eugene, Oregon. This comes just after the brand’s first-ever limited time offering called The D12TANCE, a 12-year-old bourbon finished in California Cabernet Sauvignon barrels.
The brand name of Puncher’s Chance is a boxing reference, meaning that almost anyone is possible of a knockout punch, no matter the odds. Earlier this year, Puncher’s Chance inked a deal with the Professional Fighter’s League to bring its whiskey to the growing MMA community, and partnered with MMA legend Bruce Buffer and ESPN/New England Sports Network veteran Charlie Moore.
The name The Left Cross is a reference to Jamaican heavyweight fighter Donovan “Razor” Ruddock, a southpaw who, with a devastating left cross punch, battled the likes of Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis. The left cross finishing blow became Ruddock’s calling card.
“Like its predecessor THE D12TANCE, our journey with The Left Cross is about taking an older whiskey and experimenting with unique finishing techniques – in this case dark Jamaican rum casks,” said Umberto Luchini, founder of Wolf Spirit, in the prepared statement. “Our objective was to use the rum finishing to coax out more of the existing characteristics from the whiskey while adding a unique hint of sweetness. It’s a special craft to finish such a mature bourbon, but the masters at IJW Distillery have done an exceptional job finding the right balance.”
The Left Cross has a suggested retail price of $150 for a 750ml bottle, and only 2,000 bottles of the bourbon will be available at spirits retailers and online, including in California, Florida, Kentucky, Colorado, Oklahoma and New Mexico (Southern Glazer’s); New York, Tennessee and Georgia (Empire); Massachusetts and Rhode Island (Atlantic Beverage); Missouri (Major Brands); Connecticut (Murphy); and Wisconsin (Badger/Frank), and through the Puncher’s Chance website, for a limited time only.
For more information or to find a bottle, check out www.puncherschancebourbon.com.