Henry McKenna (10 year) Bottled in Bond Single Barrel

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…

Smooth Ambler Big Level Wheated Bourbon

Apparently running with the “awkward naming convention” thing, “Big Level” is named after West Virginia’s local mountainous terrain. The bourbon is made from a mashbill of 71% corn, 21% wheat, and 8% malted barley, making it a wheated bourbon in the style of Maker’s Mark, Weller, or yes, Pappy Van Winkle. The process water is local West Virginian Appalachian spring water, and some of the grain comes from both local West Virginian farms that produce non-GMO grain. The rest of the grain…

Stellum Spirits Bourbon

This one is a blend of bourbons from unnamed sources, although the label indicates that they originate from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana. The last one suggests MGP bourbon, but there is a growing list of Tennessee producers and Kentucky could mean anything. Trying to guess the components is probably an exercise in futility. The marketing materials indicate that this is actually a blend of…

Stellum Spirits Rye

Stellum Spirits Rye is a cask-strength blend of straight rye whiskies distilled in Indiana (so that’s MGP), Kentucky, and Tennessee. The vast majority of the blend is MGP rye, and even the marketing materials references how the heart of the blend is a 95% rye mashbill, a familiar mashbill to fans of MGP-sourced ryes. This blend is bottled at a rousing 58.12% ABV. The stated goal of the brand is to create…

Westward American Single Malt

Not to be confused with Seattle producer Westland (which also makes amazing American single malt whiskey in the US Pacific Northwest), Westward is a Portland, Oregon based distillery founded in 2004 by Christian Krogstad, who has a brewing and winemaking background. Westward uses a two custom-designed copper pot stills to distill an ale-style wash…

Sagamore Spirit “Calvados Finish” Rye

Like the baseline rye, this is a blend of straight rye whiskies, all sourced from MGP (Midwest Grain Products, the artist formerly known as LDI). The website reveals the age to be 4-5 years (so, 4) but doesn’t specify the amount of time spent finishing in Calvados barrels. This bottling is a part of Sagamore Spirit’s “Reserve Series”, which includes Cognac, Port, and various wine finishes. This Calvados Finish is bottled at a robust 50.6% ABV.

OOLA Waitsburg Bourbon

This is 5 year-old bourbon which was previously sourced and blended but is now all made with a four-grain mashbill distillate from OOLA’s own small distillery in Seattle. They’re using locally-grown Washington State soft white winter wheat and organic corn from Waitsburg, WA, along with locally-sourced barley and rye. The mashbill, which probably changes based on grain availability, is around…

Wild Turkey Longbranch

For less than 40 bones you get 8 year-old Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Bourbon, which has been mellowed using a similar process to Jack Daniel’s and other Tennessee Whiskies. Instead of filtering it through 10 feet or whatever of sugar maple charcoal, Longbranch is circulated first through American white oak charcoal (the same oak used for barrels) and then through Mesquite charcoal from McConaughey’s native state of Texas.

Old Tub Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon

Old Tub is what Jim Beam used to be called a century ago when it was first sold in bottled form. The name changed to “Jim Beam” in 1943 and the previous brand name was relegated to a Kentucky-only low-volume release. Now, in 2020, Beam has released a limited edition renewal of the Old Tub brand. It’s still bottled-in-bond, and in an effort to lend the release some authenticity the whiskey is not chill-filtered and also not charcoal filtered. Honestly, I don’t know why in 2020 any whisky company still…