Old Elk Cognac Cask Finish Review

Diving into the Old Elk Cask Finish Series has been really fun.  Exploring 5-6 year Old Elk whiskey finished multiple ways was certainly interesting, and being that I really like trying everything out there, it helped satisfy my curiosity.  If you recall my reviews of Blood Oath Pacts you’ll know that brandy finishes can absolutely elevate a base spirit such as bourbon, and that had me really looking forward to trying this particular bottle.  Let’s open up the Cognac Finish from Old Elk and see what’s going on.


John H.




March 3rd, 2023

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Showcasing the Old Elk bourbon recipe of 51% corn, 34% malted barley, 15% rye bourbon recipe, this expression is then finished for ten months in 72 gallon Limousin oak casks which–according to Old Elk–brings out deep rich fruit flavors and an aroma of oat and sweet honey.  Sounds interesting to me!

Don’t forget to check out the episode of the Whiskey Raiders Podcast where Jay and I review five different Old Elk expressions and share our first impressions of each one.

Tasting Notes…

Cognac Cask Finished Bourbon: 109.7 proof, Five Year 54% corn/34% malted barley/15% rye straight bourbon, ten month finish in 72 gallon Limousin oak Cognac casks

Nose – Somewhat bright on the nose, but with a very mild finish.  There are classic bourbon notes of oak and caramel rise out of the glass.  With some time and swirling there’s a background of grape and a twist of funky oak and leather.

Taste – Rounded and balanced.  The Cognac finish is noticeable, but only just.  There are some layers of fruit and a hint of leather, a dash of nuttiness, and a medium oak backbone.

Finish – Fairly straightforward and a shorter finish here.  Perhaps medium length finish.  Where I would expect to find a funkier and brandy-forward evolution, it’s more along the lines of a five (ish) year bourbon that has just a gentle influence.

Bourbon Finder Grade Bourbon: C

Final thoughts…

I think I would go so far as to call this expression the most mild of the Old Elk Cash Finish Series.  I certainly don’t dislike this, but I can’t help but feel a little curious as to what it would have been like if they had used an older bourbon for this product; realistically, that would increase the price-point to the level that it may no longer fit into the Cask Finish Series, so I can see why that wasn’t the decision.  All in all this drinks well, but has me wishing for a bit more oomph.

The Bourbon Finder & Weekly Whiskey thanks Old Elk for graciously providing us a sample of their product. Being able to try new things in the whiskey space, without strings attached, is an opportunity we greatly appreciate. Per our review ethos, we provide objective reviews and commentary on media samples of spirits and products; remember, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!

Our grading system: As mentioned in our About Us page, we’re excited to share bourbon with our friends, family, and readers. There are enough critics, cynics, and curmudgeons in the whiskey world as it is, so our goal is to foster the bourbon community in a positive way by bringing fun and entertaining content whenever possible–as such–we decided that applying precise scores to whiskey was simply too serious for us (and didn’t accurately showcase variability in taste from day to day). We use a simple grade school system to apply a grade to the whiskeys we review because we feel it is indicative of the whiskey’s grade for us on that particular day. A grade of a “B” today may very well be a “B+” or even a “B-” on another day, so rather than focusing on a precise score today that may not stand the test of time, we are just sharing our overall grade of that pour for that one tasting. Pour a bit and enjoy, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!

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