Monday, July 22, 2019

Traverse City Barrel Proof Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes



I'm often suspicious of a marketing backstory as it pertains to whiskey. There is so much twisting and the invention of "truth" and sometimes I'm left wondering just how stupid the marketing team at the distillery thinks I am. There is one of my favorites:  someone's great-grandpappy's recipe that's been hidden away tucked behind an old picture somewhere, just rediscovered and magically resurrected from someone who doesn't even have a working still. 


Traverse City Whiskey Co. starts off along this path. The Bourbon recipe was "lingering in our family heirlooms for three generations." The difference here is Traverse City Whiskey Co. does have its own stills and the great-grandfather's recipe and techniques were patented in the 1920s. This information lends credibility to the backstory.


The distillery is located in, you guessed it, Traverse City, Michigan. They've been in operation since 2015, and for the three years prior, they were selling MGP distillate. That then moved to a blend of their own distillate with their MGP-contracted distillate, and then to where they are today with their own. They currently distill about 800 barrels a year. They're growing, and their distribution is as well, as they are now in 21 states and the District of Columbia. 


Recently Traverse City Whiskey Co. provided me with a sample of their Barrel Proof Bourbon in exchange for a no-holds-barred, honest review. This Bourbon is distilled from a mash of 71% corn, 25% rye, and 4% malted barley. It is aged for four years and hits the bottle at 117.44°.  Retail on this is $75.00 at the distillery. On a side note, their Bourbon is kosher-certified. 


And now that I've presented you with the backstory, I'll get on to what's important:  the tasting notes and whether this is worth the investment.


In my Glencairn glass, this liquid sunshine has a deep, dark amber. It left a very thin rim but generated thick, long, wavy legs to drop back to the pool.


The nose is shockingly soft.  Keep in mind this is barrel proof. Aromas of black cherry were upfront and behind that was vanilla. There wasn't much else, and when I inhaled through my lips, it was pure vanilla.


The mouthfeel started off light and thin, but subsequent sips brought out a creamy texture that coated my entire mouth. At the front, it was a mix of brown sugar and warming vanilla. Black pepper, cherry, and cream joined in mid-palate. On the back, it was charred oak. 


A long, building blend of clove, oak and cherry created a finish that got my salivary glands running hard for another sip.


Bottle, Bar or Bust:  I may have given it away with the description of the finish. I was impressed with how gentle the nose was and really enjoyed the taste. Are there cheaper barrel proof Bourbons out there? Of course. Is this one worth $75.00? I'm rating this one a Bottle and would pick this one up with no questions asked. Cheers!


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