Friday, January 6, 2023

JW Kelly & Co Old Milford Single Barrel Select Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


Last year, I had an opportunity to review Melrose Rye from JW Kelly & Co. It was a fantastic pour and snagged my 2022 Whiskeyfellow Runner-Up Award for American Rye. You can peruse the review and the background of the JW Kelly & Co. brand here.

 

Today I’m exploring its Old Milford Single Barrel Select BourbonOld Milford is distilled at an undisclosed Texas distillery before coming to JW Kelly & Co.’s Chatanooga facility. Its mash is comprised of 75% corn, 20% rye, and 5% barley. It is a “double-oaked” whiskey that spent between five-and-eight years in 53-gallon oak barrels before being transferred to new American oak casks for another eight-to-twelve months before being dumped and bottled at 54.5% ABV (109°). A 750ml bottle runs in the neighborhood of $50.00.

 

So, is Old Milford Single Barrel Select any good? The only way to judge is to #DrinkCurious. Before I do, I am grateful to JW Kelly & Co for providing me with a sample of this Bourbon in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. For the record, my sample came from Cask 403 and was dumped on April 26, 2022.

 

Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, Old Milford presented as a coppery liquid. A medium rim formed, and while it released wide, slow tears, there were also tiny, sticky droplets left behind.

 

Nose: Surprisingly, the oak that was released was soft. I say surprisingly because I expected that to be more prominent with the double-oak maturation. I also smelled caramel, molasses, something floral, and citrus. When I drew the air into my mouth, brown sugar danced across my tongue.

 

Palate: A thick, syrupy mouthfeel led me to taste bold oak, vanilla, and fresh leather on the front of my palate. Midway through, I found almond, nutmeg, and butterscotch, while on the back, I tasted cinnamon spice, allspice, and clove.

 

Finish: The medium-long finish consisted of heavy oak tannins, caramel, clove, nutmeg, and allspice.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Old Milford Single Barrel Select is a $50.00 Bourbon, and that’s a crowded place on the store shelf. There is no way in the world I would have guessed this was 109° - it drank closer to the mid-90s. Whether Cask 403 is five years old or eight, it doesn’t matter; age is just a number.

 

The heavier oak notes on the palate and finish would appeal to fans of things like old-school Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbons. Granted, the proof is much lower, but so is the cost. I’m in that boat, and that reminder coaxed me to give Old Milford Single Barrel Select 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 4, 2023

Booker's Batch 2022-04 "Pinkie's Batch" Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

 


Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last, oh, hundred years, and even if you don’t drink whiskey (shame on you!), I’ll assume that you’ve heard of Jim Beam. The Beam family traces its distilling roots back to the 1780s with the grand patriarch, Jacob. Since then, the only thing that has ever interrupted one of the Beams distilling their legendary whiskey was Prohibition.

 

Last November, I had an opportunity to review Booker’s Batch 2022-03. Today I’m sampling Booker’s 2022-04 (Pinkie’s Batch), which was hand-selected by Jim Beam’s Master Distiller Fred Noe.

 

“[It was made] to honor Booker Noe’s dad, the original Frederick Booker Noe, better known as Pinkie to his family and friends. No one is quite sure where his nickname came from, but he’s remembered as someone who always followed his passions. Although he wasn’t in the bourbon business like Booker, the two would bond over hunting quail and watching football which always brought them together at the end of the day.”Booker’s Bourbon 

 

Booker’s is made from the traditional Beam mash of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley and aged in new American oak with a #4 char level. It carries a 6-year, 10-month, and 10-day age statement and is uncut and unfiltered, although the Bourbon was run through a screen to catch any wood particles. Pinkie’s Batch is bottled at 122.4° and carries a suggested retail price of $89.99.

 

Before I get to the #DrinkCurious part, I must thank Booker’s for providing me with a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.

 

Appearance: I sipped Pinkie’s Batch neat in my Glencairn glass. It presented as a rusted amber liquid that formed a microthin rim. The thick, wavy curtain slowly dropped down the side of the glass.

 

Nose: A strong smell of caramel and brown sugar kicked things off. Cherry vanilla and dusty oak notes followed. Drawing the air through my lips revealed roasted peanuts.

 

Palate: The slick, oily mouthfeel greeted my tongue and… hang on a second. Isn’t this supposed to be over 122°? My gosh, it drank like it was somewhere in the 90s! Vanilla sugar cookies were on the front of my palate. The middle featured plum and honey-roasted peanuts, while the back offered barrel char and cinnamon spice.

 

Finish: Lasting several minutes, the finish consisted of sweet vanilla and plum that contrasted with charred oak and cinnamon spice. That cinnamon spice continued to build, much like cinnamon toothpicks that soaked longer than anticipated. Once that fell off, the charred oak remained.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Pinkie’s Batch is the second Booker’s review I’ve penned, and I don’t want it to be my last. It differed significantly from Kentucky Tea (Batch 2022-03), although both shared the surprisingly lower-proof experience. I can’t say I’ve ever encountered such a discrepancy between actual and tasted proof as with Pinkie’s Batch. To say this is an easy sipper is an understatement. I cherished what was in my glass; I believe you will, too, and as such, my Bottle rating is a no-brainer. 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 2, 2023

Still Austin "The Artist" Straight Rye Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


When you hear the name Nancy Fraley, it should immediately pique your curiosity. Nancy is known as “The Nose,” and she has a reputation for helping distilleries deliver the best out of what was American whiskeys (I have tasted and reviewed an Indian Single Malt she was involved with). Nancy doesn’t screw around. Nothing leaves with her name attached to it that doesn’t meet her strict standards.

 

Then, there’s Still Austin. Founded in 2015, it is a grain-to-glass distillery that carries out everything in-house, including milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling, and bottling. Its Head Distiller is John Shrepel, and the Master Distiller is Mike Delevante. Still Austin runs both a column and pot still, the former named Nancy (not after Fraley) and the latter The Queen.

 

In 2020, I reviewed The Musician, its introductory Texas Bourbon. Rather than recap it, here’s the rating I wrote:

 

If there was a Bourbon to change my mind about Texas-made stuff, The Musician accomplished the task.  I was surprised to find a complex nose and palate. I enjoyed the smoky finish.  I would love to find something to complain about, but even the price is right. So, yes, folks, you're getting a Bottle recommendation out of me on this Texas Bourbon. 

 

As such, when Still Austin announced the release of its American Rye called The Artist, I became excited. Could the distillery follow through with another winner? Or, would this be a hot mess that so many Texas whiskeys will become?

 

The Artist is a straight Rye whiskey made with 100% Texas rye grains that, once distilled, rested in new, charred oak for at least two years. If you think that’s not a lot of time, it is enough to qualify for a straight designation, plus this is Texas. Whiskey ages faster than in many other parts of the country. My experience is two years is plenty.

 

The Artist is packaged at 49.8% ABV (99.6°) in 750ml bottles, and you can expect to pay about $50.00. It is currently available at the distillery in Austin, at its online store, or from ReserveBar. I would not be surprised to see this gain wider distribution just as The Musician enjoys.

 

The only way I will be able to determine if Still Austin can repeat its performance with this Rye is to #DrinkCurious. I thank Still Austin for providing me with a sample in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it.

 

Appearance: The Artist presented as a deep copper when poured neat in my Glencairn glass. A medium rim created thick, wavy legs that dropped back to the pool, leaving sticky droplets behind that defied gravity.

 

Nose: A sweet aroma of honey, date, plum, soft oak, Fig Newtons, and nutmeg wafted from the glass. Cherries exploded in my mouth when I drew the air past my lips. 

 

Palate:  A creamy, heavy mouthfeel greeted my tongue and covered every crevice in my mouth. My initial impression included flavors of milk chocolate, caramel, and dried apricot. As it moved to the middle, I tasted brown sugar, orange peel, and cinnamon spice, while the back featured ginger, clove, and toasted oak.

 

Finish: There was a blended sweet and spicy finish of clove, ginger, nutmeg, toasted oak, brown sugar, and orange peel. The ginger and orange peel stuck around the longest, classifying this as a medium-long duration.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Here’s the thing about Nancy Fraley; her reputation is well-deserved. The Artist is an easy-sipping American Rye that offers plenty of character and can keep your attention without being overwhelming. If you enjoy soft, spicy Ryes, you will fall in love with this whiskey. Still Austin has done it again – this is a fantastic Texas whiskey that you can cherish, and it has earned every bit of 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.

 


 

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Clyde May's Special Reserve 6-Year Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

 



The history of the Clyde May’s brand is rather tumultuous. It is named for Lewis Clyde May, a talented moonshiner from Alabama. He was a World War II Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient while serving in the Army’s 77th Infantry Division. He was a peanut farmer. He was also caught and convicted for illegally making his shine.

 

In 1998, Clyde’s son Kenny started the Conecuh Ridge Distillery in Troy, Alabama. Because distilling in Alabama was still illegal, the whiskey was sourced by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers (more popularly known as Willett). In 2004, the Alabama Senate passed a resolution making Conecuh Ridge Fine Alabama Whiskey the official spirit of the state, which was curious since it was illegal to distill!  The governor vetoed the resolution, and the House and Senate overrode the veto. Soon after, Kenny was arrested for selling alcohol without a license, selling alcohol to a minor, and possessing an “excess” amount of alcohol in a dry county.

 

If that’s not crazy enough, Conecuh Ridge Distillery lost its license to sell Alabama’s Official Spirit in Alabama! 

 

A holding group then purchased the brand, reorganized it in 2014, and called it Conecuh Ridge Distillery, Inc.  In 2017, the brand announced it would build a new distillery in Troy, slated to open in early 2023.

 

Today I’m exploring Clyde May’s Special Reserve, a 6-year Straight Bourbon distilled by MGP/Ross & Squibb, although the mashbill is undisclosed. This Bourbon is non-chill filtered and packaged at 110°. It should run in the neighborhood of $60.00.

 

“In 1946, before there was a craft whiskey boom, Clyde May revolutionized the art of whiskey making by crafting a unique style of whiskey we refer to as Alabama style. Clyde discovered that by using dried apples in the aging process, it resulted in a whiskey of unparalleled smoothness and richness. The ultimate sipping whiskey.

 

Back in the day, Clyde May gifted this select stock of barrels as a sign of respect to his close friends and lucky locals. Today we pay homage to Clyde and offer you our Special Reserve Straight Bourbon.”Conecuh Brands

 

Sixty-some-odd dollars for 110° six-year MGP Bourbon seems reasonable; of course, that’s assuming it tastes good. The only way that can be determined is to pour a glass and #DrinkCurious. Conecuh Brands generously provided me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it!

 

Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass revealed a liquid the color of burnt umber. A medium rim released slow, sticky tears.

 

Nose: I smelled brown sugar, corn, cinnamon, and cherries. Despite allowing it to rest for about 20 minutes, there was still a punch of ethanol. When I brought the air into my mouth, molasses coated my tongue.

 

Palate: In contrast with the nose, there was no ethanol blast on my palate. An extremely oily mouthfeel introduced vanilla and caramel on the front. Raisin, black currant, and dark chocolate flavors were at the middle, while charred oak, cinnamon, and clove formed the back. 

 

Finish: I encountered a long, spicy finish of dark chocolate, cinnamon spice, clove, and barrel char. There was a kiss of caramel before everything fell off.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Clyde May’s Special Reserve is a Bourbon that drinks at its stated proof, if not a smidge higher. The spice notes became bolder as I continued to sip, and if I tasted this blind, I would swear to you that it was an American Rye. Overall, this whiskey doesn’t offer something to differentiate itself from other high-rye Bourbons. Is it priced reasonably? Yes. But it hasn’t crossed the threshold to a Bottle rating, so I recommend you try this one at a Bar first. 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, December 30, 2022

Pursuit United "The Oak Collection" Review and Tasting Notes


There are whiskey purists out there. There’s nothing in the world wrong with that; it is what floats their boat. The brown water enthusiasts I’m talking about want their Bourbons and American Ryes aged in new, charred oak vessels and have the chips fall where they may.

 

However, in my opinion, when you erect barriers and refuse to venture beyond them, you miss out on a lot. Blenders, distillers, and independent bottlers are doing some mind-blowing things with Bourbon and Rye. Many of those involve barrel finishing.

 

The purist might argue that all a finishing barrel does is allow you to salvage bad whiskey. I don't see it this way. Sure, some brands out there are stuck with sub-par barrels and want to recoup their investment. But talented blenders and distillers find ways to take great whiskey and make it even better.

 

Wait. Back that truck up a moment. What’s barrel finishing? Simply put, it is taking a mature whiskey, dumping it, and then placing it in a different barrel for additional aging. That further aging can range from a few weeks to even years. Also, the sky is the limit to what you can use in barrel finishing. Some brands will use virgin oak (charred or otherwise). Others will use vintage wine, whiskey, tequila, honey, coffee, beer, and even things like Tobasco sauce! The point is that the second barrel imparts its characteristics on the whiskey inside it.

 

The Scots have been doing this forever. They commonly use former Bourbon barrels, as American distilleries had many of them they couldn’t reuse. Sherry butts and port pipes are also reused for finishing purposes.

 

But, in the United States, we have purists. They have their reasons, and while I don’t embrace them, I understand.

 

Today I’m reviewing two selections from Pursuit United. The brand was formed by Kenny Coleman and Ryan Cecil of the well-known and respected podcast called Bourbon Pursuit. In 2018, they began a company called Pursuit Spirits, which sourced Straight Bourbons and Ryes to create its blends. I’ve reviewed their first and second releases.

 

The Oak Collection is the third release. It consists of a Bourbon and Rye. The Oak Collection is billed “[a]n ongoing series of curated whiskey blends and barrel finishes that provide an exploration of taste and constant innovation.

 

Before I get to the reviews of each, let’s group their shared commonalities. Both whiskeys have limited distribution to Illinois (exclusive to Binny’s), Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, Tennessee (Knoxville only), Texas, and online from Seelbachs. A 750ml bottle of either has a suggested retail price of $74.99. Both are packaged at 54% ABV (108°). Neither offers an age statement.

 

Finally, I thank Pursuit Spirits for providing me with samples of each in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest reviews. Let’s #DrinkCurious and get on with it.

 

Straight Bourbon Finished with Toasted American and French Oak




When sampling a Bourbon and Rye on the same flight, I’ll almost always sip the Bourbon first. In theory, flavors tend to be more mellow, whereas Ryes tend to offer a bolder experience.

 

This Bourbon is a blend of three mashbills from three distilleries:

  • A Tennessee distillery that is not George Dickel
    • 80% corn
    • 10% rye
    • 10% malted barley

 

  • Finger Lakes Distilling
    • 70% corn
    • 20% rye
    • 10% cherry smoked barley

 

  • Ross & Squibb (formerly MGP)
    • 60% corn
    • 35% rye
    • 4% malted barley

 

Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, the Bourbon was a bright orange amber. A thin rim created straight, narrow legs that crashed back into the pool of liquid sunshine.

 

Nose: I encountered an aroma of orange zest, caramel, milk chocolate, and hazelnuts. As I drew the air past my lips, orange citrus filled my mouth.

 

Palate: The front of my palate tasted dark chocolate, hazelnut, and cherry, while the middle found caramel, vanilla, and cola. The back offered clove, French oak, and barrel char. The mouthfeel was tingly with a medium body.

 

Finish: If you relish Energizer Bunny finishes, this Bourbon will make you smile. It went on for several minutes, allowing the tingling, clove, char, and cola to remain.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The tingling was a distraction, making me wonder how this is only 108°. In an unusual move, I added two drops of distilled water to my glass to see if that would tame it. When I did that, the nose exploded with caramel notes, the texture became creamy, and the palate remained the same. Weirdly, the water seemed only to increase the sizzle. I can’t get past it. You’ll want to try this one at a Bar before you commit to a purchase.

 

◊◊◊◊◊

 

Straight Rye Finished with Sherry French Revere Oak




The Rye is made from three mashbills from two distilleries:

  • Bardstown Bourbon Company
    • 95% rye
    • 5% malted barley

 

  • Sagamore Spirit #1
    • 95% rye
    • 5% malted barley

 

  • Sagamore Spirit #2
    • 52% rye
    • 43% corn
    • 5% malted barley

 

Appearance: Again, I sampled this neat from my Glencairn glass. It appeared coppery-orange and formed a medium-weight rim. The tears were watery and fell faster than I could keep track.

 

Nose: Coconut, papaya, starfruit, and berry formed the aroma, and when I pulled the vapor into my mouth, I discovered more toasted coconut.

 

Palate: The oily mouthfeel introduced me to berry, cherry, and plum flavors. Those weren’t surprising, considering the sherry influence. Midway through, I tasted brown sugar and chocolate. The back featured rye spice, black pepper, and oak.

 

Finish: An artificial cherry flavor, much like Nyquil, covered almost everything. There was cocoa powder, black pepper, and rye spice.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Cherry cough syrup is not something I find often, but it also isn’t something I enjoy. I returned to this a second day, and it was still there. That’s a show-stopper for me. I gave it a third chance, this time with two drops of water. That Nyquil sensation didn’t go away. As much as I don’t want to do it, I have to rate this one a Bust.

 

 

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, December 28, 2022

Two Souls Spirits 8-Year Wisconsin Rum Cask Finished Rye Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

 



Something that makes me happy is how independent bottling is finally catching on in the United States. Independent bottlers have been around Europe, particularly Scotland, for what seems to be forever. But, in this country, there appears to be a stigma.

 

Some people are confused by the terms independent bottling and sourcing. That’s understandable, too, since the lines can easily blur. Independent bottlers will typically not only disclose but prominently display who the distiller is on the label. The goal can be to acquire an off-profile barrel or to do something special with the barrel that the distillery would not normally do, such as an unusual finish. Or, the distillery may usually send its stocks off to be blended with others, whereas the independent bottler will sell that single barrel for whiskey enthusiasts to try.

 

On the other hand, sourcing usually results in a non-distilling producer (NDP) buying stocks from different distilleries and branding them as its own. Some are more transparent than others, and nothing (unless you get into bottled-in-bond spirits) states you must disclose who did the distilling. Sourcing is also done by blenders, who take barrels from several distilleries to create something new. Talented blenders can do magical things with whiskeys.

 

Two Souls Spirits is one of the few American independent bottlers around. Founded in 2021 by James Estrada and Chad Civetti, it currently partners with Yahara Bay Distillers of Wisconsin, Watershed Distillery of Ohio, and Finger Lakes Distillery of New York. Two Souls Spirits is located in Davie, Florida. 

 

“Our mission is to hand-select exceptional spirits from craft distilleries that are reflective of the region where they are created. We are committed to providing full transparency and sharing our partner’s stories and products with a national audience. 

Our goal is to be the go-to curator of American craft spirits for discerning consumers seeking distinctive, meticulously crafted distilled products.” – Two Souls Spirits

 

Two Souls Spirits has released its 2022 Winter Collection. One of those whiskeys is an 8-Year Wisconsin Rum Cask Finished Rye sourced from Yahara Bay Distillers, the oldest distillery in the state. Two Souls Spirits selected Barrel #44, a mash of 95% rye/5% malted barley, and placed it in new, #3 charred oak barrels at an entry proof of 120°. After eight years, it was then transferred to rum casks for three months, and when finally dumped, it weighed in at a hazmat proof of 146.96°. Incidentally, it may be the highest-proofed whiskey I’ve reviewed yet! It is non-chill filtered, and there are 158 750ml bottles available. You can expect to pay $118.99 on Two Souls’ website.  Two Souls Spirits ships to 44 states around the country.

 

How’s this heavy hitter taste? The only way to know for sure is to #DrinkCurious. Before I get there, I must thank Two Souls Spirits for providing me with a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.

 

Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this Rye presented as a light amber. With this proof, I would have assumed it to be darker. Try as I might, I could not get a rim to form on the wall of the glass. It kept collapsing into a wavy curtain.

 

Nose: Amazingly absent was any alcohol blast when I brought the glass to my schnozz. Instead, I smelled toasted oak, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. As I pulled the air through my lips, vanilla mint was evident.

 

Palate: The oily texture sizzled on my tongue. Cinnamon and rye spices combined with vanilla cream were on the front of my palate. As it moved back, candied orange peel, molasses, and sugar plums took over. Ginger spice, dry oak, and nutmeg rounded the back.

 

Finish: Unexpectedly, the finish was relatively short. How does something that carries this much punch (at least on paper) not stick around? Ginger, rye, and cinnamon spices were accompanied by sugar plum and molasses, which provided me the sensation of eating a good fruitcake.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: This Wisconsin Rye Whiskey drank below its stated proof. It was an attention-getter as it was, but I’ve had stuff far bolder. The experience was the opposite of what I anticipated, proving the #DrinkCurious lifestyle is well worth living. I’m pondering the value statement here. Sipping it was a nifty journey, but I’m not convinced it is worth the $119.00 investment. Because of that, it earns my Bar rating.

 

On a side note, this is the best whiskey I’ve tasted out of Yahara Bay Distillers. 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, December 26, 2022

Devils River Agave Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

 


One of the things I appreciate about distilleries is when they’re persistent. I’ve reviewed a few whiskeys from Devils River Distillery out of San Antonio, Texas. Let’s say that, to date, everything has wound up in the Bust category.

 

With my most recent review of Devils River Barrel Strength Bourbon, the distillery reached out to me and commented as follows:

 

“We have plenty of awards and fans but it’s still disappointing when we don’t meet up to someone’s expectations. Thanks for the feedback, would like to send you a sample pack of all our expressions to try, maybe our Rye or Coffee is for you. Cheers.”

 

Naturally, I accepted the offer; that’s the whole #DrinkCurious philosophy. A short time later, I received some whiskeys in the mail. One of those was Devils River Agave Bourbon.

 

Agave Bourbon? What sorcery is this? Agave is a plant that’s the base of tequila and mezcal. Agave is also a sweetener, similar in nature (and often interchangeable) with honey. In the case of Devils River’s whiskey, it has used unfiltered 100% Blue Weber agave sourced from Jalisco, Mexico.

 

The president and co-founder of Devils River is a self-taught distiller named Mike Cameron. Mike was also the co-founder of Rebecca Creek Distillery before launching Devils River in 2017. Devils River is a working distillery; however, it is unknown if what’s on the market today is its distillate or sourced. The label on the bottle suggests it was made in 2017, meaning it is sourced.

 

From my previous reviews, I know that Devils River was distilled from a mash of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley and sourced from Jus-Made/Southwest Bottling. The Devils River website states that agave is a “key ingredient” to the Agave Bourbon. What's that mean? I'm not sure. It could be a barrel finish; it could be a flavoring. Someone at the TTB signed off on it.

 

Agave Bourbon is packaged at 40% ABV (80°), and a 750ml bottle retails for around $28.99, making it an affordable option – if it tastes good. Before I get to that, I thank Devils Creek for its persistence and for providing me with a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.

 

Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, Agave Bourbon presented as the color of light caramel. A thicker rim formed but immediately released a curtain of legs that crashed back into the pool.

 

Nose: A sweet aroma of honey, caramel, and milk chocolate blended with toasted oak and ethanol, suggesting that while it carries no age statement, it is likely on the younger side. When I pulled the air through my lips, that unmistakable taste of sweet agave syrup rolled across my tongue.

 

Palate: I discovered a thin and oily mouthfeel. The first thing I experienced was very sweet agave and vanilla sugar cookies. As the liquid moved to the middle of my palate, I found caramel and berry fruit, and at the back, it was sweet tobacco leaf, oak, and black pepper.

 

Finish: At first, the finish seemed medium-short in duration. However, subsequent sips extended that significantly. Clove, charred oak, black pepper, and sweet agave competed for attention.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I will say this much; this is the best thing I’ve had out of Devils River Distillery. I must admit I enjoyed what I sipped. If this is the same distillate as the flagship Bourbon, then the agave has drastically changed it. The Agave Bourbon is different from any other Bourbon I’ve had; it does not taste like a flavored whiskey or finished in an agave barrel. For the $28.99 investment, I congratulate Devils River Distillery on its first Bottle rating from me. It is well-deserved. Cheers!

 

Epilogue: I have also been provided with the Coffee Bourbon and Distillers Select Straight Bourbon, both of which will be reviewed later.

 

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.