On Thursday, August 18th we hosted a Boutique Bourbon session at Kensington Wine Market. Just for fun I decided to run the tasting blind.
We tasted through the lineup once before taking a vote on everybody’s two favorites. After that was done we tasted through the eight whiskeys once more – this time revealing what we had tried.
1 – Jefferson’s Ocean Aged Bourbon Voyage 5 – 45% ABV – $125
Jefferson’s now has a partner distillery but most of their bottlings up until this point have been sourced from undisclosed distilleries and blended. What is known about this whiskey is that is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon with a high rye mashbill (25-30% Rye) sourced from Kentucky distilleries. Beyond that – either by choice or by binding agreement – they do not say which Kentucky distillery this Whiskey comes from.
This is the 5th release of Jefferson’s Ocean. It is given this name because the barrels making up this batch are actually put on an ocean vessels and taken on a voyage on a ship which stops at 30 ports and touches five continents. The ocean air, extreme temperature changes, and constant movement of the liquid in the barrels is said to impart some influence on the whiskey – giving it more of a salty/briny note and more oak influence.
2 – Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon Batch 36 – 44% ABV – $70
This bourbon hails from the Wyoming Whiskey Distillery in Kirby, Wyoming. It is what is sometimes called a “Wheater” – being a bourbon made with wheat in the mashbill instead of rye. Other popular wheated bourbons include Maker’s Mark, the elusive W.L. Weller, and the White Whale known as Pappy Van Winkle.
This bourbon has been produced in small batches since 2012. Current releases are around five to five and a half years old and unlike some craft distilleries they use standard sized 53 gallon/ 200 liter virgin oak barrels aging. The mash bill for this whiskey is 68% corn/ 20% wheat / 12% malted barley. All grains are sourced from within 100 miles of the distillery.
3 – High West American Prairie Bourbon – 46% ABV – $80
Blended and bottled by High West Distillery in Park City, Utah. High West tend to do a masterful job at sourcing and blending their releases and to me this is no exception. They are even kind enough to list what goes into this bourbon on their website. The makeup is as follows:
- Whiskey #1: 2-year-old bourbon (MGP Seagrams, Indiana): 75% corn/ 20% rye/ 5% malted barley.
- Whiskey #2: 6-year-old bourbon from Kentucky (cannot disclose source).
- Whiskey #3: 13-year-old bourbon from Kentucky (cannot disclose source).
4 – Cedar Ridge Iowa Bourbon Batch 328 – 40% ABV – $65
From Cedar Ridge Vineyards and Distillery in Iowa. Cedar Ridge was founded in 2005. They released their first bourbon in 2010. Cedar Ridge was the first licensed distillery in the Iowa since prohibition.
The mash bill for this bourbon is 75% corn/ 12.5% rye/ 12.5% malted barley. It is distilled using a small 80 gallon/ 200 liter pot still. This bourbon is around two years old.
5 – Koval Certified Organic Single Barrel Bourbon – 47% ABV – $83
A new bourbon to us at Kensington Wine Market from Koval Distillery in Chicago, Illinois. This distillery does a variety of spirits including Gin and Whiskey of many sorts.
Their bourbon is certified organic and has a rather unique mash bill consisting of 51% corn/ 49% millet. Millet is a gluten-free ancient grain mostly grown in parts of Africa and Asia. The bourbon was aged mostly in smaller 30 gallon barrels (nearly 115 liters).
6 – 1792 Ridgemont Reserve KWM Cask – 46.85% ABV – $70
This is perhaps a bit of a cheat as it is from Barton Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. By no means is this a small or boutique distillery in operation. That being said: this is our own cask. It was bottled entirely and exclusively for KWM making it unique and quite limited.
The mash bill is likely 75 corn /15 rye / 10 malted barley. If you haven’t had a chance to try it I would check it out – it is definitely a bourbon lover’s bourbon.
7 – Sonoma West Of Kentucky Bourbon – 47.8% ABV – $91
The (far) West of Kentucky Bourbon comes to us from Sonoma County Distillery in Rohnert Park, California. This distillery is founded in 2010 and this bottle is from batch four of their first mash bill release.
The mash bill for their first release consists of the requisite amount of corn plus unmalted rye and cherrywood smoked malted barley which does seem to impart some roasted notes on the nose and palate.
8 – Scotch Malt Whisky Society B3.3 – 54.3% ABV – $175
This is a single barrel bourbon from Rock Town Distillery in Little Rock, Arkansas. The distillery was founded in 2010 and prides itself on sourcing grain from within 125 miles of the distillery.
This barrel was selected and bottled by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. It was the first SMWS bourbon bottling selected for the Canadian chapter of the society. More information on the Scotch Malt Whisky society can be found by asking any of us at KWM or at www.smws.ca .
As you can see it was quite a tasting! Here are the top 3(ish) of the night as selected by the attendees:
3rd place – Jefferson’s Ocean
3rd place – Wyoming Whiskey
(Two way tie)
2nd place – High West American Prairie
1st place – Koval Single Barrel
Thank you to to all who attended the tasting and a special thanks to Peasant Cheese for providing their always excellent cheese and charcuterie boards!
Cheers and until next time,
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