For now, we have a blend of two sourced whiskies from Virginia and Kentucky. Another twist: no MGP! The first is a 2 year-old bourbon from the O.Z. Tyler distillery in Owensboro, Kentucky with a mashbill of 70% corn, 21% rye, and 9% barley. The second is a 4 year-old bourbon from Davis Valley Distillery in Virginia with a mashbill of 66% corn, 14% rye, and a hefty 20% barley.
Smooth Ambler Old Scout not only has an awkward name, it has an awkward composition: A “union” of two sourced American whiskeys blended in “hand-selected batches” that prevents the whiskey from being labelled as Bourbon. The first whiskey is an MGP-distilled 36% rye (“high-rye”) 9 year-old bourbon. The second is a Tennessee-distilled whiskey made from a bourbon mash which is aged for 5 years in re-charred used ex-bourbon barrels.
…his experiments resulted in the founding of Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, Virginia. Copper Fox not only has its own maltings – a rarity for any distillery in the world, even Scotland – but also malts 100% of its own barley. The barley is a 6-row hybrid grown locally and is smoked (“gently”) using fruitwood smoke (apple and cherry wood)…
To be fair, these are wheat-recipe bourbons made by Buffalo Trace (where modern Pappy is also produced) and matured in the same warehouses. In my W. L. Weller 12-year review, I refer to Weller bottlings as “failed Pappy” which may or may not be blogger poetic license.
James E. Pepper, a historic brand purportedly established in 1780 (NOT in 1776) but mothballed in 1958, was distilled at several sites in Kentucky including the long-abandoned James E. Pepper distillery in Lexington, KY. In 2008 the rights to the brand were purchased by the Georgetown Trading Co., and re-launched as a line of several bourbons and three ryes using sourced whisky from various distilleries. … The bourbon bottlings were originally contracted out of the Corsair distillery in Kentucky, but are now all sourced from MGP as well.
The Koval Millet whiskey is aged in 30-gallon new charred oak barrels (like bourbon distilleries, Koval sells all of its barrels after a single use). I was unable to find any information about the amount of time this whiskey spends in-barrel, so I would go ahead and assume it’s quite young. … Koval distillery in Chicago is an undeniable pioneer in this space, with various whiskies for sale distilled from millet, oats, spelt, wheat, and rye. All of Koval’s spirits are single-barrel releases, and all are made from organic grains farmed in the American Midwest.
Wild Turkey has been making rye since before the “rye renaissance” began – starting some time in the 1980s, using a “barely legal” mashbill of 51% rye, 37% corn, and 12% malted barley. … Only last year (2017) did Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Rye reappear, and only in the restaurant- and bar-oriented 1-liter format. It also sported a new label and a higher price tag, at around $40 a liter.
Shortly after I started this blog, a very (VERY) kind reader sent me a pair of Pappy samples. … The 20-year is bottled at 45.2% ABV (contrast with the 15-year at 53.5%). Most of the dismissive “too cool for Pappy” commentary on the ‘net would have you believe that the 20- and 23-year are overly oaky and that the 15-year is best.
Enter competitor TerrePURE Spirits, based in Charleston, South Carolina. A little Googling can tell you what you need to know about the technology, so I’ll just summarize it by saying that they use ultrasonic vibrations to induce chemical reactions in a young spirit (in this case, 2 year-old sourced bourbon), likely with inserted oak staves. This has a variety of effects, including filtering out congeners which cause off-flavors, building mouth-feel by esterification of fatty acids, and improving color absorption from the wood without added colorants.
So apparently a brand called Kentucky Owl Bourbon was sold from 1879 through Prohibition and the business failed when its whisky was seized by the government for impounding. There’s a story about a warehouse fire, and Al Capone… the sort of thing that looks good on a whisky website and is impossible to corroborate. … The whiskey is from a batch of barrels of 11 year-old straight rye whiskey acquired from an unnamed distillery (or distilleries?) in Kentucky, and then bottled in Bardstown, Kentucky at a robust 55.3% ABV.