Showing posts with label StayBonded. Show all posts
Showing posts with label StayBonded. Show all posts

Monday, January 10, 2022

Cedar Ridge Bottled-in-Bond Rye Review & Tasting Notes

I’m no stranger to Bottle-in-Bond whiskeys. After all, it is my favorite genre of American whiskey. Bonded whiskey is fantastic because it carries certain guarantees that others don’t. The whole Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 came about because unsavory people did unpleasant things with whiskey before selling it to the public. Sometimes turpentine was added. Sometimes tobacco spit. Sometimes, who knows what. People were getting sick and dying because of the impurities in the whiskey. The result was a consumer protection law enacted by Congress.


The law requires several things. First and foremost, it must be 100% a product of the United States. A single distiller must distill it at a single distillery during one distillation season (January to June or July to December). It must age a minimum of four years in a federally-bonded warehouse, must be bottled at precisely 100°, and must state on the label who distilled it. Any deviations preclude the whiskey from being bonded.


I’m also no stranger to Cedar Ridge Distillery out of Swisher, Iowa. I’ve reviewed a handful of its whiskeys, sometimes carrying its own label, sometimes that of an independent bottler. The distillery has earned an overall good reputation with me, and as such, when they send me something new to try, I’m eager to get to it.

Distilled from a mash of 85% rye, 12% corn, and 3% malted barley, Cedar Ridge Bottled-in-Bond Rye carries no age statement and is bottled at an unsurprising 100°. The distillery states it is a seasonal release and intends to be ready every November.   Distribution is limited to Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri. You can expect to spend about $50.00 for a  750ml package.


Before I get to my tasting notes, I’d like to take a moment and thank Cedar Ridge for providing me a sample of this whiskey in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious and see how it fares.


Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this bonded Rye presented as reddish-amber. It formed a medium rim and slow, thick legs.


Nose: The first aroma to hit my nose was soft cedar. It was joined by cherry cola, bubble gum, vanilla, and floral rye. When I took the air into my mouth, that cherry cola intensified.


Palate:  I discovered a soft, airy mouthfeel. Flavors of toasted oak, salted caramel, and vanilla began the journey. In tow were bubble gum and cherry cola. The back featured cinnamon, caramel, and tobacco leaf.


Finish:  Things were on the dry side with cinnamon powder, pink peppercorn, tobacco leaf, toasted oak, and sassafras. It had a medium-length duration.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Your average craft whiskey runs about $50.00. I found this one tasted above average. The finish was atypical, especially that sassafras note, and the whole thing left a smile on my face. That’s worth a Bottle rating to me. 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, February 26, 2021

Border Bourbon Single Barrel Bottled-in-Bond Review & Tasting Notes

If I had to choose a favorite niche of whiskey, it would be a no-brainer with Bottled-in-Bond.  I love it because there is some guarantee of quality, at least in the production of it.  This was, not too long ago, a forgotten, overlooked category and everything was dirt cheap. Now, Bottled-in-Bond is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and with that, there is an increase in the average price. That's not to say you can't still #RespectTheBottomShelf with some affordable gems, but they're not getting the attention they deserve.

45th Parallel Distillery is located in New Richmond, WI.  I've reviewed several whiskeys out of this distillery, and for the most part, I enjoy what they slap a label on. They distill both their own whiskeys as well as contract distilling for other brands. The philosophy is one of taking things slowly. 

"When you understand that time is a factor you cannot control, you focus on the ones you can. Temperature and humidity are two very important elements in the maturation process. Many try to speed up the aging process by using higher temperatures and using smaller barrels. This results in the hard and disproportionate amount of tannins. There is no substitute for time. It is a fundamental part to achieve high-quality products.

Today many distillers care more about maturing their spirit quickly with wood extracts. A traditional slow maturation process results in a full-bodied flavor that can only be accomplished from years in high-quality wood barrels.

Time is constant and cannot be controlled. We don’t try to." - 45th Parallel Distillery

My review today is of its Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon.  Not only is it bonded, but it is also a single barrel. Barrel 196 was purchased in its entirety by Niemuth's Southside Market in Appleton, WI.  It comes from a mash of corn, rye, wheat, and barley, and is then placed in a medium-char, Ozark white oak barrel. The staves were seasoned for three years prior to being coopered.  It then rested 68 months (5 years, 8 months).  Because it is bonded, it is diluted to 100°.  Retail is $42.99.

I'd like to thank Niemuth's for providing me a sample of this Bourbon in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let's #DrinkCurious and find out if this one is any good.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, this Bourbon presented as honey brown in color. While a thinner rim was created, thick, heavy, slow legs worked their way back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

Nose:  Corn and vanilla were the first aromas I discovered. But, they were joined by mint, nutmeg, and cinnamon. When I drew the vapor into my mouth, caramel rolled across my tongue.

Palate:  An oily, medium-bodied mouthfeel gave me the impression this drank below its stated proof. On the front, I tasted only creamy caramel. The middle expanded to milk chocolate, almond, and corn. On the back, flavors of black pepper, clove, and rye spice were easy to pick out.

Finish:  This whiskey has one of the most confusing finishes I've ever come across. It started as incredibly long. The next sip it was medium-short. A subsequent sip brought the length back. One more it was medium-short. But, the confusion didn't stop there. It began with a slow ramping of spice. Another taste would bring out sweet notes without spice. Additional attempts kept cycling between the two. I was able to discern clove, tobacco, and black pepper that would tango with vanilla, toasted coconut, and toasted oak.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  If you've read my reviews for any length of time, I am fascinated with whiskeys that offer something distinct. The finish on this one absolutely fits that bill. This was delightful all the way around, the mind-games notwithstanding. The price is not a major factor and as such, I'm dropping my Bottle rating on it.  You'll enjoy the experience from start to finish. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

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

Niemuth's Southside Market is located at 2121 S Oneida Street in Appleton.


Monday, March 9, 2020

Whiskey Acres Bottled in Bond Bourbon Review

About 70 miles west of Chicago, in the middle of corn country, exists a little 2,000-acre seed-to-spirit outfit called Whiskey Acres Distilling Company. This was the first estate distillery in Illinois and the second in the nation, meaning the distillery uses only grains grown on its own land, grown by farmers Jim and Jamie Walter and Nick Nagele. It even uses limestone water from the ground beneath those fields. 

They've been distilling, on and off, and farming for five generations going back to (at least) 1897.

Arriving on April 4th is Whiskey Acres's inaugural batch of Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon.  If you're unfamiliar with the term Bottled-in-Bond, it is uniquely American and essentially a consumer protection law.

You see, back in the day (does that make me old?), store owners, rectifiers, and saloon owners wanted their stocks to stretch as much as possible. To accomplish that, they'd add very bad things to their booze. Things like tobacco spit and turpentine. Folks were getting sick (or worse) and wanted some sort of guarantee of quality. Also, as with any government "protection", it involved providing additional tax revenue.

The Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 created the following rules for any spirit carrying the Bottled-in-Bond label:

  • It must be entirely a product of the United States.
  • It must be a product of one distillery by one distiller in a single distilling season (January to June or July to December).
  • It must be aged at least four years in a federally-bonded warehouse.
  • It must be bottled at 100°, and the bottle must state who the distiller is if different than who bottled it.

Let's get back to the Whiskey Acres Bourbon. After distilling from a sweet mash of 75% yellow-dent corn, 15% soft red winter wheat, and 10% malted barley in their hybrid pot still named Flow, the newmake is brought down to an entry proof of 120°, then placed in #3-char, 53-gallon American white oak barrels from Kelvin Cooperage and then left alone to age for at least four years.

I've visited a lot of distilleries in my life, and I've seen some very unusual warehouses. Never have I seen one inside a grain silo! But, this is where the magic happens.

Choosing only seven barrels, the Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon is non-chill-filtered. The distribution will be throughout Illinois, with limited availability in Wisconsin and Nebraska. Retail will be $49.99.  

I'd like to thank Whiskey Acres for providing me with a sample of the Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon in exchange for a no-holds-barred, honest review. Time to #DrinkCurious and get on with the review.

In my trusty Glencairn glass, this Bourbon appeared as a definitive deep orange. It left a medium rim and fat droplets took a bit to appear before gravity took them down to the pool of liquid sunshine.

The nose was very corn-forward. Oak was there, but nowhere near dominating. A floral perfume was also there, which I found completely unexpected due to a lack of any rye content. I also picked up orange peel and even a hint of peach. When I inhaled through my lips, it was pure vanilla.  

A thin, coating mouthfeel greeted my palate. Like the nose, corn was the first thing noticed. In fact, there was a ton of it. Mid-palate, I tasted both chocolate and cocoa. On the back, a cereal quality from the malted barley was evident and it married with oak, creamy caramel, and pink peppercorn. 

The medium-length finish was dry oak, white pepper, and thick, heavy, dark chocolate. Underneath that was the subtlest suggestion of mint. Overall, the finish was warming but lacked any real burn. There was also no numbing of my hard palate and lips. 

Bottle, Bar or Bust: I enjoyed Whiskey Acres inaugural Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon. It wasn't overly complicated and, despite the 100°, I'd classify it as an easy sipper. One word of warning: because it goes down so easy, that 100° sneaks up on you like an all-encompassing hug from a grandma who also wants to give you a kiss while she's wearing bright pink lipstick. When you take that and consider that $50 is about average for craft whiskey, this becomes an easy Bottle recommendation. 

On a final note, I appreciated this Bourbon so much, Mrs. Whiskeyfellow and I drove down to the distillery afterward to see it in person and discover what Whiskey Acres was all about. We were shown around by Colby, who did an amazing job as our guide.

The tasting room is about a year old and is inviting. While you're visiting (or waiting for the tour to begin), you can buy a few cocktails. For what it is worth, I highly recommend the Bourbon & Blues.

In all, this was a fun visit and I'm glad we made the drive. Sipping whiskey is great (obviously), but visiting distilleries and meeting some of the folks involved is always a blast. Do it whenever you can. Cheers!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

#30DaysofBourbon Challenge: The Results Show

The 2019 #30DaysofBourbon Challenge is now over!  All 30 Bourbons are below, along with my calendar.  This was the fifth annual Challenge and it was bigger and better than ever.  Thank you all who participated, and a special thank-you if you donated to a charity of your choosing.

My donation went to the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association (RSDSA), which is an amazing organization that caters to the community battling RSD/CRPS by providing education, support and driving research for a cure to this horrible nerve disorder.  This has a special place in my heart because Mrs. Whiskeyfellow has been battling CRPS for a number of years.  I even took the RSD/CRPS Ice Challenge (video at the bottom of the page) to help bring awareness. 

Most new people who take part in the Challenge find it is much more difficult than it initially sounded. They don't necessarily get hung up on drinking Bourbon for 30 days, several make that assumption and quickly tell me this won't be different than any other month.  What becomes challenging is not repeating the Bourbon at any point in the month. This is a great way to discover new favorites or revisit a Bourbon you may have even forgotten about. I find Bourbons tucked away on my shelf every year.

If you took part in the Challenge, did you find it difficult or easy?  Also, feel free to give a shout-out to your charity.

Thank you so much for taking this journey with me over the past 30 days. I'm already looking forward to 2020.


September 1:  Elmer T. Lee
Commemorative Edition (2013)
September 2: Old Forester
Birthday Bourbon (2017)
September 3: EH Taylor
Barrel Proof (2015)
September 4: J Henry & Sons
Patton Road Reserve
Barrel #210
Speakeasy_WI Pick

September 5:
Very Old Barton
Bottled in Bond
September 6:
Buffalo Trace
"Lucky Bastard"
Speakeasy_WI Pick
September 7:
Jim Beam White Label
September 8:
Four Roses
2015 SmBLE
September 9:
Woodinville Pot
Still Bourbon
September 10:
Tom's Foolery
Bottled in Bond
September 11:
High West
American Prairie
ACE Spirits pick

September 12:
JW Dant Bottled in Bond

September 13:
Knob Creek 120
"The Rat Pick"
Speakeasy_WI Pick
September 14:
Border Bourbon
Cask Strength
Barrel 141
Niemuth's Pick
September 15:
Old Fitzgerald
Bottled in Bond
September 16:
Whiskey Acres
5.5 Grain 
September 17:
Traverse City
Barrel Proof
September 18:
Bourbon Company
Fusion Series 1
September 19:
Rebel Yell
September 20:
Elijah Craig

September 21:
George T. Stagg (2015)
September 22:
Fighting Cock 103

September 23:
Evan Williams
Single Barrel

September 24:
Joseph A Magnus
Triple Cask Finished (MGP)
September 25:
Two George's
High Wheat
Vom Fass Exclusive

September 26:
Stagg, Jr. 131.9°

September 27:
Old Weller
Cask & Ale Pick
September 28: Four Roses OBSO
picked 9/28/13 for Fine Spirits
(my first ever barrel pick)

September 29:
Willett WFE
Barrel #4177

September 30:
Early Times from 1979

I took the RSD/CRPS Ice Challenge!

Friday, August 23, 2019

The #30DaysofBourbon Explanation and Rules are now available!

The wait is over, the time is ripe to publish the explanation and rules for the #30DaysofBourbon challenge!  

As I've teased, this isn't just about drinking Bourbon for 30 days, there's a lot more involved with this challenge.  Moreover, there's the charity aspect.  We should strive to help others.  My request is that at the end of the challenge, please donate $30 or more to any charity of your choosing.

My charity of choice is the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association (  This is a very personal decision for me because my amazing wife has been battling RSD/CRPS for several years.  It is a horribly unfair disease that robs people of their own bodies by keeping them in constant, unending pain. The RSDSA provides education, assistance and drives research for a cure.

Rather than doing a daily post here, I'll save that for social media. However, come September 30th, I'll post what my 30 Bourbons were and provide my calendar.

The rules are published at Bourbon & Banter.  There are both a calendar and logo overlays you can use to help spread the Bourbon Gospel.

Will you join me for this year's challenge?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The 5th Annual #30DaysofBourbon Challenge is almost here!

Get your liver checked, because the 5th Annual #30DaysofBourbon challenge starts September 1st!  This is an amazing, fun month-long event that grows by leaps and bounds every year.  Details will follow, but if you've never taken part, it is harder than you think and has a charity angle. Cheers!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

New Riff Bottled in Bond Rye Review

If you've followed me long, you'll know that I have a favorite category of American Whiskey:  Bottled in Bond. In my opinion, if the bottle makes that proclamation, you'd be hard-pressed to be disappointed. Of course, all rules have their exceptions, but for the most part, Bonded whiskeys are affordable, they represent American distilling in its purest form, and they're delicious. Until recently, the category was also largely ignored and regulated to the bottom shelf so much so, that when I first started reviewing whiskeys, I created a #RespectTheBottomShelf hashtag because I found so many gems down there.

For folks new to whiskey, or at least new to American whiskey, a common question is What is bond and why is something bottled in bond? In a nutshell, back in the old days, there were very unscrupulous renderers and resellers pushing spirits with a lot of additives. Some of those additives were simply disgusting, like spent tobacco "juice" and others were downright dangerous, such as turpentine. The additives were there not to help extend the inventory and make as much money from a barrel as possible.

The Bottled in Bond Act of 1897 addressed all of that. It was a consumer protection act. By calling something Bottled in Bond, certain guarantees were put in place:

  • It must be a product of one distilling season from a single distillery. A distilling season is either January to June or July to December;
  • It must have been aged in a federally bonded warehouse for at least four years;
  • It must be bottled at 100°;
  • It must state on the bottle the name of the actual distillery (versus just a brand name of a non-distilling producer); and
  • It must be a whole US-made spirit.

New Riff Distilling was created in 2014 by Ken Lewis and Jay Erisman in Newport, Kentucky. It is an independently-owned distillery that distills Bourbon, Rye, Malted Rye, and Gin.  New Riff Rye is a 100% Rye mash bill (95% rye and 5% malted rye) aged in 53-gallon new, charred oak barrels. It is non-chill filtered and retails for $49.99. It is four years old and, fulfilling the Bottled in Bond requirement, it is bottled at 100°.

All of this is well and good, but in the end, the important stuff matters... time to #DrinkCurious.

In my Glencairn, New Riff Rye was a very dark, inviting amber. It left a thin rim on my glass but produced thick, faster legs that dropped back into the pool of liquid sunshine.

Initial spicy aromas of mint and cinnamon permeated my nostrils. Once I got beyond the shock, orange peel, oak, and vanilla came through. When I inhaled through my lips, it was a complete vanilla bomb that made my mouth water.

The mouthfeel was very creamy. Up front, that thick vanilla from the nosing raced across my palate, and mixed into the vanilla was almost a perfect amount of cinnamon. Mid-palate changed to black pepper and sweetened condensed milk (a note I never thought I'd pen in a rye review). On the back, the rye spice shone through with a combination of toasted oak and clove.

A long-lasting finish of clove, dry oak and caramel hung around to bring a smile to my face.

New Riff Rye is a very complex, very different rye from start to finish. On my Bottle, Bar or Bust scale, this one is an absolute recommended Buy, and especially for the price, I don't see how you can go wrong.