Sunday, April 14, 2019

Calumet Farm Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey Review


There is nothing wrong with sourcing whiskey. There are a variety of reasons why someone would want to source. Either they're waiting for their own distillate to mature and they want to offer something now, or they have no intention whatsoever to distill and want to be an NDP (Non-Distilling Producer). Regardless, if someone is sourcing their whiskey, in my opinion, they need to be transparent and not try to pull the wool over the eyes of the consumer.

Calumet Farm is produced by Western Spirits Beverage Company out of Bowling Green, Kentucky. These are the same folks that produce Bird Dog, Sam Houston, Lexington Bourbon, and Whitetail. They don't distill. They also keep a lot of information close to their vest, and if you go to their website, they don't even have an About Us link. Again, they can choose to disclose what they like as long as they aren't pretending to do something they're not.

A friend provided me a sample of Calumet Farm 12-Year Old Single Rack Black Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey. Western Spirits describes this as hand-selected barrels over 12-years old, all picked from a single, center rack of 19 barrels. What's that mean? Not much, it is more marketing-speak than anything else, especially since they don't disclose who the distiller is, where in Kentucky the rickhouse is, how many stories the rickhouse is, what the aging process (natural or climate controlled) is, etc., etc., etc. As I said, it is market-speak. Again, nothing wrong with that, market-speak is more common than not.

What do we know about Calumet Farm? Not much. The Bourbon is at least 12-years old. It comes from Kentucky. The mash is corn, rye, and barley, and it is aged in #4 charred, new oak barrels. It retails for $69.99, it comes in an attractive bottle and is 94°. Whether we get disclosure or not, the most important aspect is how Calumet Farm 12-Year Bourbon tastes. Time to #DrinkCurious

In my Glencairn, Calumet comes across as a brassy, deep amber. It left a very thin rim that generated very thin, fast legs to drop back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

The nose started off with cinnamon and vanilla, which then morphed to a rye spice. That, in turn, gave way to toasted oak. When I inhaled through my lips, I picked up orange peel and caramel.

The mouthfeel was very thin and oily. The palate offered caramel up front with a heavy rye spice mid-palate. On the back, it was all clove. There was nothing overly complex involved.

The finish was spicy and lingering. It turned a smidge minty. 

Bottle, Bar or Bust:  I enjoy high-rye Bourbons and, in fact, prefer them to wheaters. You'll notice there's not a lot of tasting notes here. It isn't that I wasn't trying, rather I found Calumet Farm to be very meh and a $70 Bourbon this is not. I could not determine who the actual distiller is, I suspect this may be a barely legal high-Rye Bourbon (meaning 51% corn, a hint of barley, and the remainder rye). There are much better selections at this price and, in fact, there are much better selections for half the price. As such, this one is a Bust and should be avoided. Cheers!

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