This barrel is from a batch of Henry McKenna’s Bottled in Bond line, which is usually a good sign in a bourbon these days. The 50% ABV required for BIB is (in my opinion) a great drinking strength, and the BIB requirements tend to lead to more of a quality mindset than a “big batch mass production” mindset in the producer. In case you didn’t bother to click on the links above, the short version is that the brand is Heaven Hill bourbon using the same mashbill as…
Like Elijah Craig and Henry McKenna, Evan Williams has a mash bill of 75% Corn, 13% Rye, and 12% Barley. It’s also Kentucky straight bourbon, but because it’s labeled “bottled in bond” it’s aged for at least 4 years and bottled at 50% ABV (100 proof). It can be found in bottle sizes of 750ml, 1 liter, and 1.75 liter, all for very reasonable prices.
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.
This bottle (which I would never pay $150 or even $130 for, FYI) is a single-cask limited release from the distillery (Cask 7352) which was distilled in 1994 from peated malt and then aged for 19 years (bottled in 2013). It was recasked into an oloroso sherry butt at some point (not mentioned on the label). The liquid was bottled at cask strength without added color or chill filtration, yielding a supple 53.2% ABV, which is (in my opinion) near the perfect strength for an undiluted expression…
This Old Malt Cask bottling spoke to me: younger Talisker (with an age statement!), purportedly aged in sherry, bottled at a potent 100 proof, and only $40. The malt was just one month shy of 7 years of age, and bottled in 2016 without added coloring or chill filtration. Only 361 bottles were filled out of this single sherry hogshead.
Although it shares a striking label resemblance to the 1843 line, the Reserve is a rye-flavored mash bill and not wheated. It’s also sourced from an undisclosed distillery in Kentucky, possibly Heaven Hill, and bottled by Luxco in St. Louis. Soon, however, distillation will move to the new Lux Row distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky.
The David Nicholson brand was previously distilled at Stitzel-Weller (don’t get excited, it hasn’t contained SW juice for decades) and the 1843 bottling – named after the year grocer David Nicholson began selling his own blend of bourbon at his store in St. Louis – in the Stitzel-Weller tradition. Bottled without an age statement at 100 proof (50% ABV), the 1843 is a Kentucky straight bourbon bottled by Luxco in St. Louis, MO.
Sonoma County Distilling, located in Rohnert Park, CA and opened in 2010, uses direct-fired copper alembic pot stills for its whiskies, which are twice-distilled (like most single-malt scotches, which are also distilled in pot stills). The West of Kentucky Bourbon No. 2 has a mashbill of Midwest yellow corn, unmalted Canadian wheat, and malted barley from Wyoming.
Sonoma County Distilling, located in Rohnert Park, CA and opened in 2010, uses direct-fired copper alembic pot stills for its whiskies, which are twice-distilled (like most single-malt scotches, which are also distilled in pot stills). The 100% rye in the mashbill is a combination of unmalted Canadian rye and malted rye from the UK.
The “other” Diageo Bourbon, I.W. Harper is another resurrected brand. The Bernheim brothers began selling I.W. Harper in 1879 and it has been (like most Bourbon brands) sold several times since. It saw a 20-year hiatus in the US, although it has been sold continuously in Japan. Now, Diageo is bringing it back in two forms.