Monday, January 30, 2023

Leopold Bros. Bottled-in-Bond Maryland-Style Rye Review & Tasting Notes

If you’re unfamiliar with American Rye whiskey, there are two major classic styles: Pennsylvania and Maryland. Pennsylvania style, also called Monongahela style, is often spicy, bold, dry, and with a more significant oak influence. It typically has a mashbill of rye and malted barley.


Maryland, on the other hand, is milder, with fruit and floral notes. It comes from adding corn to the mashbill. Due to the added ingredient, Maryland-style rye is sweeter and tones down the more pronounced spiciness of its Pennsylvania cousin.


Leopold Bros. of Denver is a distillery headed by the much-respected Todd Leopold. My impression of Todd is he likes to do things that distillers have abandoned. Founded in 1999, the distillery has the largest malting floor in the United States. Everything is done in-house. There’s no sourcing of anything, including the botanicals from the garden just outside the open fermentation tanks. Those botanicals create the wild yeast used in, well, everything.


Perhaps Todd’s most well-known project is the revival of the three-chamber still, the only working version in the United States.


Today I’m exploring Leopold Bros. Maryland-Style Rye. Todd made Maryland-style rye in 2011 before any Maryland distilleries revived the process. Leopold Bros. Maryland-Style Rye’s remaining stocks were shelved three years ago. That allowed the whiskey to age five years on the distillery’s earthen floor warehouse. In 2022, it was re-introduced as a Bottled-in-Bond whiskey. It is non-chill filtered and packaged at its legally-required 100° and can only be obtained for $80.00 at the distillery’s Denver tasting room.


I’m giving a big shout-out to one of my amazing friends in Denver, who gave me a sample of this American Rye and asked requested my thoughts. So, let’s #DrinkCurious and taste what it is all about.


Appearance: I sipped this Rye neat from my Glencairn glass. The liquid appeared as a brilliant orange amber and formed a medium-thin rim. Slow, syrupy tears rolled down the wall.


Nose: There was not a spice punch to my nostrils that I would have expected. Instead, I smelled a perfume of floral rye, honey, lemon zest, vanilla, and oak. My tongue encountered honey and lemon when I pulled the air through my lips.


Palate: A full-bodied, oily texture coated the entire inside of my mouth. The front of my palate tasted the floral botanicals from the distillery’s garden. I can’t tell you what specific flowers are involved, but they were prominent and diverse. Midway through, I encountered pear, honey, and peach, while the back featured cinnamon, cocoa, and oak notes.


Finish: A spice bomb exploded in my mouth featuring wood tannins, rye spice, and cinnamon Red Hots. Those flavors stuck around for several minutes before they eventually subsided. A warming sensation was left in my throat.  


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Based upon what I read of Maryland-style Ryes, the back of the palate and finish took me by surprise. The spice was anything but mild. Yet, I wasn’t disappointed. Those flavors reminded me I was sipping on an American Rye, not some other whiskey type.


Leopold Bros. Maryland Style Bottled-in-Bond Rye is one of those whiskeys you’re not going to run across every day. It isn’t MGP, Barton, or Heaven Hill. At the same time, it isn’t like what I’ve tasted from Sagamore Spirit. Instead, it is in a class by itself. And, because of that, it earned my Bottle rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Friday, January 27, 2023

Amrut Fusion Indian Single Malt Whisky Review & Tasting Notes

The first Indian whisky to earn worldwide attention is Amrut Fusion. Amrut has been distilling in Bengaluru since 1949, but it didn’t enter the Single Malt Whisky market until 2004. Amrut invented the category, as prior Indian whiskies were distilled from molasses, not grain.


In 2009, Fusion was introduced in Glasgow, Scotland. Then, it went to Western European countries, but it still wasn’t gaining much traction, until it garnered the attention of Malt Maniacs, who awarded it the Best Natural Cask Whisky. And in 2010, Jim Murray claimed it was the third-best whisky in the world.


Both Amrut and Indian whisky have come a long way. Amrut has several expressions and won many awards. The category is no longer a curiosity, earning a solid fan base.


Today, I’ll explore Fusion and all it has to offer. It is an aptly-named Indian Single Malt whisky because it starts with 75% unpeated Indian malted barley and 25% peated (8-to-10ppm) Scottish Highland barley distilled separately and then married for about six months in ex-Bourbon barrels and virgin oak casks. It is naturally colored, non-chill filtered, and carries no age statement. You can expect to pay about $65.00 for a 50% ABV (100°) 750ml package.


If you’re unfamiliar with Indian whiskies, they give up about 12% to the angels each year. As such, it matures much faster than its Scottish or Irish counterparts. Also, if you’re scratching your head trying to figure out how a whisky made from both Indian and Scottish malted barley yet still considered a single malt, that’s because everything is still coming from a single distillery.


I received a 50ml sample from a friend who manages a local liquor store. Let’s #DrinkCurious and discover what this whisky is all about.


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Fusion presented as a dull, golden liquid. A medium-thick rim formed medium-wavy legs that rolled down to the pool.


Nose: A kiss of smoke attempted to hide apple, pear, citrus, and dark chocolate. Caramel shot across my tongue when I drew the air past my lips.


Palate: My initial sip offered a full-bodied, creamy mouthfeel. Earthy peat, lemon peel, and vanilla hit the front of my palate. The middle consisted of candied orange, walnut, and dark chocolate, while the back featured sweet tobacco, leather, and smoky oak.


Finish:  Fusion created an Energizer Bunny finish that seemed to run forever. Flavors of peat, brine, leather, and charred oak carried to the end.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Fusion is, in a word, excellent. Is it the third-best whisky in the world? I don’t get into those kinds of comparisons because they’re silly. I can, however, tell you Fusion is worth every penny and even more. It would not only make a fantastic introduction to Indian Single Malts but one for peated Single Malts as a whole. It would be silly as well not to give this one my Bottle rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Wednesday, January 25, 2023

O.H. Ingram River Aged Straight Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


So many American distillers are trying to differentiate themselves from one another. Some do barrel finishing, some get creative with a mashbill, and play with char levels and barrel staves. Others include exposing the whiskey to artificial seasons, blasting music at the barrels, or sticking them on a boat.


There is one brand that is famous for aging whiskey on boats: Jefferson’s. Its Ocean range sends barrels around the world, with the idea that the rocking sea, stormy weather, and ocean air would impact the whiskey inside. I’ve reviewed AO Come Hell or High Water from Pilot House Distilling, which puts barrels on fishing vessels in the Pacific Northwest.


But I’ve never heard of aging whiskey in a rickhouse floating on the Mississippi River – until today.


About 150 years ago, O.H. Igram owned an Eau Claire, Wisconsin lumber company that sent logs down the Mississippi River. His grandson, O.H. “Hank,” expanded the family business to include river barges. Then, O.H. Ingram III came up with the idea of aging whiskey on barges and founded Brown Water Spirits in 2015. A year later, he experimented with his vision. In 2019, he obtained his DSP; the first-even one granted for a floating rickhouse; in 2020, the initial batches were ready.


O.H. Ingram attributes three things that make the process special:


Motion – Our whiskey works harder than any other. The motion of the river keep the whiskey inside our barrels constantly churning, exposing more liquid to the surface of the barrel where it extracts more flavor from the wood.

Temperature – Our whiskey experiences large diurnal shifts (the difference in temperature between daily highs and lows). The heat from the daytime sun causes the pores in the wood to expand and absorb more whiskey. At night, the river pulls the heat from the barge causing the pores to squeeze the whiskey back into the barrel along with the flavors it has extracted.

Humidity – the humidity from the river keeps our barrels moist. Aside from slowing down evaporation of the whiskey (known as the Angel’s Share), the sugars in our barrels do not dry out in the heat, keeping a nice molasses-like consistency. This allows the whiskey to better extract the flavors from the wood.”O.H. Ingram River Aged


O.H. Ingram River Aged’s portfolio includes a Straight Bourbon, a Straight Rye, a Straight American Whiskey, and a Flagship Bourbon. Today I’m sipping on the Straight Bourbon. It is distilled in Indiana utilizing the MGP/Ross & Squibb 51% corn/45% wheat/4% malted barley mashbill. It carries no age statement, which means there are at least four years of exposure to oak. Packaged at 52.5% ABV (105°), a 750ml bottle costs about $69.99.


Before I get to the #DrinkCurious part, I must thank Brown Water Spirits for providing me with a sample of this Bourbon in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it, shall we?


Appearance: I sipped this whiskey neat from my Glencairn glass. Inside, the liquid presented as deep chestnut and formed a thinner rim. That rim released wide, sticky tears that crawled back into the pool.


Nose: The aroma consisted of cherry, pear, freshly-sawn oak, and honeysuckle. When I drew the air into my mouth, I tasted lightly-toasted oak.


Palate: A thick, weighty texture crossed my lips and the front of my palate encountered cinnamon, vanilla, and orange rind. I found nut, honey, and apple flavors as the Bourbon moved to the middle. The back featured new leather, nutmeg, and toasted oak.


Finish: I first noticed how numb my hard palate became. There wasn’t any burn; it just numbed it like I visited the dentist. Leather, orange rind, and cinnamon spice remained to form a medium finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: O.H. Ingram River Aged Straight Bourbon is an unusual pour. I’ll embrace that the sleeping whiskey was impacted by life on the river, and this isn’t a gimmick. This Bourbon is so off-profile for MGP’s wheated mashbill. I liked it, but I am not in love with it. When the price is considered, I will toss a Bar rating at it. Cheers!  


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.


Monday, January 23, 2023

Pōkeno Whisky: Discovery, Origin, and Double-Bourbon New Zealand Single Malt Reviews & Tasting Notes


One of the most beautiful places on Earth is New Zealand. In November 2000, I spent two weeks mountain biking and ocean kayaking on the South Island. The Kiwis, whether Maori or of European descent, were some of the friendliest people I’ve met. There was also quite a bit of culture shock, especially on the culinary side. I remember exploring a winery. Whisky wasn’t even on the radar at that point in my life.


I’ve seen a few New Zealand whiskies cross my social feeds, but I’ve never had a chance to see one at the liquor stores I visit, let alone taste one. But, due to the kindness of ImpEx Beverages, that changes today.


Pōkeno Whisky Company was founded in 2017 by Matt and Celine Johns. The distillery is located on the nation’s North Island, just south of Auckland. It is the largest single malt distillery in the country. Johns chose the town of Pōkeno for its high-quality volcanic water. Its license was granted in 2018, and in 2019, production began using barley grown on the South Island. The distillery has an on-site cooperage to handle barrel-making and repairs.


According to distiller Rohan McGowan, Pōkeno opted to wait at least 3 years and a day to follow Scottish rules of whisky-making. It wasn’t until last year that the first bottles were available.


Today I will #DrinkCurious with New Zealand Single Malts from this distillery:  Origin, Discovery, and Double Bourbon Single Cask. Each whisky is three years old, non-chill filtered, and naturally colored.


So, thank you, ImpEx Beverages, for this opportunity in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest reviews.


Pōkeno Discovery Single Malt


Before determining where something began, we must first be aware of it. As such, I’ve opted to start with Pōkeno Discovery. It is packaged at 43% ABV (86°). A standard-sized bottle runs about $74.99.


First we carefully select and blend parcels of stock which have been fully matured in first fill bourbon, Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez Casks. We then lay these back down in cask to allow them to marry perfectly together.” – Pōkeno Whisky


Appearance: I sipped this single malt neat from my Glencairn glass. Inside, the orange-amber liquid formed a medium rim. Wide, slow tears flowed back into the pool.


Nose: A thick, fruity aroma escaped the glass’s mouth, consisting of raisin, plum, and black cherry. Beneath those, I smelled chocolate and honey. Inhaling through my lips enhanced the honey.


Palate: The mouthfeel was thin and oily. Chocolate, honey, and cherry notes were on the front of my palate, while the middle offered raisin, almond, and orange zest. The back tasted of mocha, oak, and old leather.


Finish:  Long and lingering, the finish is derived from citrus, nuts, raisin, and leather.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The sherry influence on this single malt whisky was unmistakable; I didn’t find many bourbon-ish notes. That’s perfectly okay because what I was tasting was simply enchanting. Yes, it is three years old; no, you won’t care. I’d put this one up against several lovely twelve-plus-year Speyside malts, and it would be a great night. I’m really looking forward to the other two. Still, regardless of how they perform, Discovery earns every drop of my Bottle rating.




Pōkeno Origin Single Malt


Once discovered, you can then search for how things began. The second whisky I’ll try is Pōkeno Origin. It is packaged at 43% ABV (86°). This whisky can be acquired for around $69.99.


Pokeno Origin celebrates our unique place in the world. Produced from the finest local barley, and unrushed through fermentation and distillation to enhance body and flavour, we mature it only in first fill bourbon casks.” – Pōkeno Whisky


Appearance: Far lighter in appearance than Discovery, Origin could pass for a Fumé Blanc wine. The rim was thinner, releasing a mix of sticky droplets and husky legs.


Nose: I found the aroma sweet with orchard fruits such as pear, apricot, and apple. Pure vanilla rolled across my tongue when I drew the air in through my lips.


Palate: Unlike Discovery, the texture of Origin was creamy and weighty. The front of my palate experienced pink grapefruit, honey, and vanilla. I tasted almond, cashew, and English toffee mid-palate, while the back had oak, clove, and white pepper flavors.


Finish: Oak, clove, cashew, white pepper, and grapefruit remained, resulting in a long, steady finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The Bourbon influence was much easier to identify with Origin. I enjoyed what I tasted, although I immediately regretted trying it second, as it was overshadowed by Discovery. However, I had enough left over to try it on its own another day. This whisky goes down too easily; I can picture sipping this on my deck during a warm summer evening. It may be priced a tad too high, but even so, you’ll find it a pleasant, fruity pour. My Bottle rating is well-deserved.




Pōkeno Double Bourbon Single Cask 21-415 Single Malt


The final pour of the day is a single cask offering. I saved it last for two reasons. First, it is a higher proof:  56% ABV (112°). Secondly, it is a single cask, something that would be unique to even the distillery, and I wanted to come to this one with an open mind. The yield was 320 bottles, and from what I could find, the online price is $125.00 and is limited to the US market.


After a full maturation in a first-fill bourbon barrel, we decided to re-rack this single malt into a fresh first-fill bourbon cask for 6 months. This unique technique has added incredible richness and depth to the whisky.” - Pōkeno Whisky


Appearance: That double-maturation process allowed this incarnation to have a slightly darker color than Origin. Thin, slow tears fell from a medium-thick rim.


Nose: Even before I got the glass to my nose, vanilla exploded from it, so much so that when I did, it was challenging to dig through it. Pear and apple, and then what I swear was coconut cream pie tickled my nostrils, and that last note carried through as I inhaled the vapor through my mouth.  


Palate: A thin, oily mouthfeel sizzled the tip of my tongue. White grapefruit, lemon zest, and toasted coconut were on the front of my palate. The middle featured honey and dark chocolate, while the back formed peanut butter, toasted oak, and white pepper flavors.


Finish: The finish was wild with fresh coconut, lemon peel, vanilla, toasted oak, and dark chocolate that was a bit shorter than I had hoped.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Understandably, this was the smallest sample bottle of the three provided. That made me sad because I was getting lost in this pour. The price is a bit steep, but this is also a one-and-gone whisky you’ll want to get your hands on. The coconut, lemon, and dark chocolate will wow you, and you’ll be thrilled you grabbed a Bottle.


Final Thoughts:  Of the three, my favorite was Discovery. The sherry notes were spectacular. All three are worth grabbing; I’d rate them at Discovery, Double Bourbon, and Origin. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.


Saturday, January 21, 2023

Evan Williams White Label Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


Sometimes I think to myself, Why have you never reviewed that?


Whenever someone asks me what my favorite Bourbon is, I shrug my shoulders. There are so many beautiful choices out there, but at the end of the day, I consider my “house Bourbon,” the one I am sure always to have a bottle open and available is Evan Williams White Label.


In my opinion, this is the Bourbon that appeals to almost anyone. When you mention Evan Williams White Label, people nod their heads in agreement and say, Oh yeah, that’s a good choice.


What makes Evan Williams White Label so attractive? To start, it is incredibly affordable. You can find it in some places still for under $20.00! And it doesn’t take a lot of effort to find it on the liquor store shelf.


Next, it is a Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon. If you go back to the beginning of when I was reviewing whiskeys, I’ve stated that my favorite whiskey category is Bottled-in-Bond. It is a truth-in-advertising law that gives distillers and producers little opportunity to stretch the truth. Backstories don’t matter. What does is that the whiskey must be a 100% product of the United States, at least four years old, must be bottled at precisely 100°, and must be aged in a government-bonded warehouse. A bonded whiskey must come from one distiller at one distillery in one distillation season (January to June, July to December). The label must disclose who the actual distiller was; you can source it, but you can’t hide who made it.


Evan Williams White Label is distilled by Heaven Hill and consists of a mash made from 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley. While it carries no age statement, Heaven Hill suggests the whiskey rested at least five years, and we know Heaven Hill utilizes barrels with a #3 char level.


Why haven’t I reviewed it? I have no idea. Frankly, I thought I had. But, not is as good of a time as any. Let’s #DrinkCurious.


Appearance: I sipped this Bourbon neat in a Glencairn glass. A gentle swirl produced a thin rim and fat, medium-speed tears that fell back into the pool of liquid sunshine. Evan Williams White Label pretty much defines what color amber truly is.


Nose: Aromas of caramel, vanilla, peanuts, plum, cherry, and oak were all easily identified. None trample over another. When I inhaled the vapor through my lips, butterscotch filled my mouth.


Palate: The texture was thin and oily, introducing my palate to flavors of vanilla, brown sugar, and corn. Midway through, I tasted cinnamon, nutmeg, and caramel. The back offered black pepper, toasted oak, and a gentle kiss of mint.


Finish: Medium in length, the finish left caramel, brown sugar, and dry oak in my mouth and throat.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: As I stated in the introduction, Evan Williams White Label is my house Bourbon, and there’s nothing to offend. I keep it around because it is delicious and affordable. It is everything a Bottle rating should be, and it is a fantastic opportunity to #RespectTheBottomShelf. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.


Thursday, January 19, 2023

Loch Lomond Inchmoan Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes

A distillery’s history can be traced and tracked to the present day. There are public records to peruse; there are fans and historians who have written about them, and there’s the Internet. Occasionally, you run across a distillery with a clouded history. Such is the case with Loch Lomond Distillery.


What is known is the distillery was first established in 1814 near Tarbet, which is at the north end of Loch Lomond. Beyond that is anyone’s guess. Record-keeping was minimal, and no one is sure when it eventually was dismantled. However, in 1965, the former owners of Littlemill Distillery founded the new Loch Lomond Distillery, located in the village of Bowling, Scotland, placing it in Scotland’s Highland region.


Loch Lomond Distillery was shuttered in 1984, and it wasn’t until three years later that Alexander Bulloch and the Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse, Ltd. purchased it and resumed distilling malt whisky. Then, in 1993, it added grain whisky to its portfolio. At that time, Loch Lomond was the only Scottish distillery producing malt and grain whiskies.


The distillery also has an operational cooperage, placing it in an unusual position compared to most others. It processes about 10,000 barrels annually. Loch Lomond’s master blender is Michael Henry, and the distillery credits both him and its unique pot stills as what differentiates its whisky from what others offer:


“The uniqueness of our pot malt stills rest in the cylindrical necks of the spirit stills. Traditionally the necks of malt stills are open. The Loch Lomond stills include special distillation trays in the necks, allowing for greater contact with the cooling alcohol vapour. This makes the process more efficient.

These stills can produce alcohol up to 90% ABV where normal stills deliver the alcohol at around 70% ABV. This style of still allows for different ‘flavour notes’ to be captured and emphasised through the range of alcohol strengths that can be captured and rejected. This is much more difficult to achieve through a conventional pot still.” – Loch Lomond Distillers


The Loch Lomond Distillery is part of the Loch Lomond Group, which also owns Campbeltown’s Glen Scotia, Highland’s Inchmoan, and a host of other brands.


Today I’m exploring Loch Lomond Inchmoan 12-Year Single Malt Whisky. This Scotch is aged at least a dozen years in both refill and re-charred American oak casks. The distillate comes from both the traditional swan-neck pot still and its straight-neck pot still. Non-chill filtered and packaged at 46% ABV (92°), a 750ml bottle can be acquired for around $45.00. It is billed as a sweet and smoky whisky, which makes sense since it utilizes peat-dried malted barley.


I procured a 50ml taster at a random liquor store in 2022. Let’s #DrinkCurious and discover what this whisky is all about.


Appearance: I sipped this Scotch neat from my Glencairn glass. The liquid appeared as deep copper, and a wide rim remained on the wall as I tilted the glass, and it just stuck there like glue. Some legs formed, but they didn’t do much. Admittedly, that was unusual and unexpected.


Nose: As I brought my face to the glass, I wallowed in the aroma of earthy peat, rich vanilla, and a touch of saline. Further sniffs unveiled light oak and pear. When I parted my lips and inhaled, there was more pear. Nothing was overpowered; things just meshed as if by design.


Palate: The mouthfeel was thin and on the weak side. The front of my palate plucked earthy peat, citrus, and pear. Midway through, I tasted salted caramel and nuts, while the back featured barrel char, fresh-cracked black pepper, and clove.


Finish: The peat was the most identifiable note in the finish; however, you can’t discount the clove, oak, black pepper, and brine that remained. Medium in duration, it provided a kiss of smokiness that made me smile.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Some people don’t like peated whiskies. I’m not in that category; I love it and once I smell it in a glass, what I’m drinking gets my full, undivided attention. My only real gripe is that the finish was too short. It forced me to return for another sip to keep the flavors going. But, what I did taste was enjoyable. In my opinion, you’ll get your $45.00 worth and then some, which makes this an easy Bottle rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Monday, January 16, 2023

Devil's River Distiller's Select Straight Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

Devils River Distillery is out of San Antonio, Texas, and got my attention a year or so ago via its aggressive social media campaign. A friend who owns a liquor store down in Florida had an open bottle and gave me a taste. He was waiting for my reaction. Let’s just say neither of us was a fan.


I reviewed its Barrel Proof Bourbon late last year, and my assessment was similar. I figured I was done with the brand. However, after publishing that second review, Devils River Distillery reached out to me and asked if they could send me samples of their other whiskeys. Never one to turn down an opportunity for a review, I agreed. There were a handful of whiskeys in the package, one of which was the Agave Bourbon, which I found very tasty.


They sent another whiskey, the one I’m visiting today, which is its ultra-premium Distiller’s Select Straight Bourbon.


Crafted from hand-selected bourbon barrels and made with 100% Texas grains, Devils River Distiller’s Select is a ‘grain to glass’ Texas Straight Bourbon. Distilled and aged in the hot Texas climate for over two years in a #3 charred American oak barrel, the Texas heat naturally accelerates the aging cycle as this whiskey expands deeper into the oak staves, giving our bourbon its rich amber color and complex flavor.” – Devils River Distillery


The grains come from a local cooperative of farmers. This Bourbon is bottled at 120°, which should be high enough to deliver some serious flavor, but not assault the palate. The proofing process included using spring water from the Devils River region. You can expect to pay about $59.99 for a 750ml package.


So, how’s this Bourbon taste? The only way to know for sure is to #DrinkCurious, but before I get there, I must thank Devils River for providing me with a sample of Premium Batch 1 in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to that right now!


Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass revealed a Bourbon the color of burnt umber. At three years old, it initially surprised me until I reminded myself this was a Texas whiskey. A thinner rim formed these wild legs that went everywhere except up.


Nose: An aroma of molasses, apple, toasted oak, cinnamon, and dark chocolate flowed from the glass to my nostrils. The molasses was more pronounced when I pulled the air through my lips.


Palate: I encountered an extremely oily texture that lacked weight but managed to coat the entirety of my mouth. The front of my palate discovered brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. That cinnamon pretty much morphed into rye spice on the middle, which was accompanied by caramel. The back was spicy with clove, freshly-cracked black pepper, and a healthy dose of charred oak.


Finish: The tip of my tongue sizzled like the Texas summer heat. Those spice notes got my attention, and refused to surrender. When it eventually fell off, I tasted barrel char and molasses.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Devils River Distiller’s Select drank at its published proof and offered a wallop of spices. But it did so almost politely. As it moved across my palate, it felt like everything was done by design. Tasted blind, I’d never guess this was only “more than” two years old. That’s the Texas climate for you. I enjoyed Distiller’s Select and am happy to crown it with my Bottle rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.