Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Green River Kentucky Straight Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

When your distillery number is DSP-KY-10, you are registered as the 10th oldest distillery in Kentucky. That license was granted to J.W. McCulloch in 1885 to found and operate the Green River Distilling Company in Owensboro. McCulloch was one of the most prominent advocates of the Bottled-In-Bond Act of 1897. He was also a former revenuer. He testified before Congress in favor of the law’s passage. His distillery was one of the country's largest producers of bonded spirits under the J.W. McCulloch, Mountain Dew, and Green River brands.


Green River’s whiskeys won prestigious awards such as the Medal of Excellence at the 1893 World’s Fair, the First Prize and Gold Medal in Paris in 1900, the Grand Prize Over All Competitors at the 1904 Word’s Fair, and, in 1905, the Grand Prize at the Exposition Universelle de Liege. There were plenty of other awards earned during McCulloch’s tenure.


And then disaster struck.


Sadly, at the height of Green River’s popularity, a fire broke out on the distillery grounds. In just three hours, most of the buildings and whiskey barrels were reduced to rubble. The distillery was rebuilt, but Prohibition was passed and J.W. McCulloch wouldn’t live to restore Green River to glory. In the following decades, the distillery passed hands on several occasions. The Medley Distilling Company was the most well known to operate on the grounds.” – Green River Distilling Company


The distillery fell into disrepair and was abandoned until it was acquired in 2014 by the Terressentia Corp. of South Carolina and named it O.Z. Tyler Distillery. Two years later, the distillery was producing its first whiskeys. Then, in 2019, Terressentia purchased the rights to the Green River name, and in 2020, O.Z. Tyler once again became the Green River Distilling Company. Green River was purchased by Bardstown Bourbon Company last year.


Today I’m reviewing Green River Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This whiskey starts with a mash of 70% corn, 21% Winter rye, and 9% malted two-and eight-row barleys. It carries no age statement, making it at least four years old. The char level is undisclosed. It is packaged at 45% ABV (90°), and you can expect a 750ml bottle to run about $35.00.


Before I get to the #DrinkCurious part, I must thank Green River Distilling Company for providing me with a sample of this Bourbon in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: I poured this Bourbon into my Glencairn glass and sipped it neat. It presented as bright and coppery. A medium-thin rim allowed wide, wavy tears to fall.


Nose: What I smelled reminded me of a 3 Musketeers candy bar with plenty of nougat and a bit of milk chocolate. But, there were also fruity notes which included plum and peach. Exploring even deeper, I encountered a whiff of mint and leather. As I drew the air into my mouth, I found dry oak and raw almond.


Palate: Vanilla, cocoa powder, and mint were on the front of my palate, followed by almond, peanut, and caramel at the middle. Flavors of cinnamon, tobacco, and oak commanded the back. The mouthfeel was light and airy.


Finish: I tasted leather, milk chocolate, mint, oak, and brown sugar on the finish, which didn’t stick around long.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: At 90°, you’ll find Green River’s Bourbon satisfying. It is an easy sipper with plenty of flavors to keep your attention. When you factor in the $35.00 investment, it provides a rate of return you’ll embrace. All of this factors into 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.



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