Union Horse Reunion Barrel Strength Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

When you say, “Kansas,” there are several things that come to mind.  Wheat.  Corn.  Rolling hills and large, open spaces. Tornadoes.  Dorothy and Toto. That’s not a knock on Kansas, it is simply what those of us outside of Kansas think. Trust me, I’m in Wisconsin. Folks think of cows, cheese, beer, the Packers and nine months of winter.  In both states, nobody’s first thought is “distilleries” or “whiskey.” 


In Lenexa, there is a distillery called Union Horse. They currently offer four different whiskeys (Reunion Straight Rye, Reunion Straight Bourbon, Rolling Standard Midwestern Four-Grain and Longshot White Whiskey) and a vodka. The Rye is distilled from a mash of 100% rye, is aged five years, and bottled in both 112° Barrel Proof and 93° versions. Reunion Rye is non-chill filtered. 


Today I am reviewing the Barrel Proof Rye. It is available in both 375ml and 750ml for $30 and $60 respectively. In full disclosure, Union Horse provided me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached review and I thank them for that. And now, time to #DrinkCurious…


In the glass, this Rye presented a rich, caramel color. It left a thinner rim on my Glencairn that led to thick, wavy legs to drop back into the pool. 


A gentle mint greeted my nostrils as I brought the glass to my face. As I moved the glass through the various nosing zones, aromas of nutmeg, floral rye and toffee presented themselves. When I inhaled through my lips, the flavor of stone fruit ran across my palate. 


The mouthfeel was thin and watery. The initial hit to my palate surprised with coffee, toffee, and mint.  A second sip made the coffee stand out on the front, behind that was a mix of vanilla and toffee mid-palate. On the back, vanilla (again) with white pepper. 


While the mouthfeel was thin and watery, the finish was long and creamy. Pepper and oak continued to build and left a slight tingle. It absolutely did not drink like a 112° whiskey, as despite that tingle, there was no real burn to speak of on either the palate or throat. That creaminess also was left behind on the palate, possibly masking any heat. 


Bottle, Bar or Bust:  Here’s where the tires meet the pavement.  First, let’s consider the price. $60 for a 750ml craft whiskey is scratching the rafters.  $60 for a barrel-proof craft whiskey is, pardon the pun, more palatable. However, price is nice but taste is king. 100% rye mash can be tricky as to whether something is pleasant or harsh, and Union Horse distilled a very pleasant barrel-proof whiskey that I would be proud to have in my library. The obvious rating is a Bottle.