Limestone Branch Experimental Collection Malted Red Wheat Bourbon

Have you ever been so busy that you just forget to eat? You wouldn't know it from looking at me, but it happens to me all the time. I'll get so into working on a project that all of a sudden I'll look up and it's four in the afternoon...and it's right about then that I realize that I am really hungry and end up eating a little too much to compensate. 

This is the probably the reason you wouldn't be able to tell that I frequently forget meals. 

Anyway, that's the sort of passion that I expect most craft distillers have. Not the gorging after unintentional fasting part, but the getting so into a project that you forget about everything else part. The distillers that I've met have all really loved what they are doing and loved the experimentation that they could do.

Which brings us to the second of three bottles of Limestone Branch's Experimental Collection that I picked up in May. This one is named Malted Red Wheat and is made up of a mash bill of 60% white corn, 28% malted wheat and 12% malted barley. 

Limestone Branch Experimental Collection Malted Red Wheat Bourbon

Purchase Info: $22.99 for a 375 mL bottle at Total Wine, Louisville, KY

Details: 47.5% ABV. Single Barrel. Barrel 114. Mash bill: 60% white corn, 28% malted wheat, 12% malted barley. Barrel Entry ABV: 50.63%. Barrel Char level 3. Aged 20 months.

Nose: Toffee, floral, gentle baking spices.

Mouth: Generic Sweetness, malted milk, cinnamon spice.

Finish: Youth shows up on the finish bringing cinnamon spice and dried grain notes along with it. 

IMAGE: a hand-drawn face with a neutral expression

Thoughts: I have a feeling that when it grows up, I will like this much better than the first bottle in the series that I reviewed. For right now though, this one is quite a bit too young for my palate.


Hey folks, no plug for the store tonight. I'm taking off next week for a family vacation to North Carolina and would be unable to fulfill the orders anyway. That also means no posts next week. Wish me luck, it's a road trip with a 13 year old, a 7 year old, and a 4 year old...they may just drive me to have an extra bourbon when we stop for the night. 😉

Limestone Branch Experimental Collection Bourbon

One of the things that I think that small distilleries have brought to the whiskey world is a willingness to experiment. To find different flavor profiles and to bring them to the world. They almost have to. If you are making the same style of whiskey as the big guys and don't have their economies of scale, they will beat you on price every time. But if you are offering something different, then maybe you can more easily convince people that your product is worth spending a little extra to support. 

Tonight's whiskey comes from a small distillery that has been putting out some fantastic bourbon under the Yellowstone and Minor Case brands. Almost all of that whiskey was sourced, though the latest Yellowstone did contain a bit of their whiskey as well. So though I knew they had good palates, I wasn't exactly sure how their in-house bourbon would taste. 

So when I saw that there were three young single barrel "Experimental Collection" bourbons from Limestone Branch at Total Wine in Kentucky, I felt like I needed to pick them up. To be honest, I didn't know what to expect. Would it be a familiar flavor profile? Something completely different? I didn't know, but I did know Steve Beam, and I also knew he's good at what he does. So I pulled the trigger. 

Limestone Branch Experimental Collection Bourbon

Purchase Info: $22.99 for a 375 mL bottle at Total Wine, Louisville, KY

Details: 47.5% ABV. Single Barrel. Barrel 11. Mash bill: 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% malt. Barrel Entry ABV: 54.57%. Barrel Char level 3. Aged 24 months.

Nose: Smells young. Wet coffee grounds and old lumber.

Mouth: Nice spice. Orange slice jelly candies, bitter almond, anise, and a fair dose of charcoal.

Finish: Medium length. Citrus and almond fade to reveal the dried grains used in its creation as well as a menthol mintiness.

IMAGE: A hand-drawn Smiley face

Thoughts: On my first try of this whiskey, I was not a fan. As I've spent a little more time with it, I've started to come around. I think this was just so different that, initially, I was thrown off a bit. Yes, this is young. And yes, you can tell from teh nose and the taste. But it doesn't taste bad, as many young whiskeys can. It's just really different. It doesn't taste grainy until the end of the finish. I kinda like it. Is it my favorite thing on the shelf? No. But I'm glad to have picked it up and help support (and taste) a bit of experimentation. 


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Wilderness Trail Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon

A little over four and a half years ago, my wife noticed that a craft distillery out of Kentucky was following her on Twitter. As she didn't tweet very often, this was a surprise for her, and she reciprocated the follow. 

A little while later (late October 2013), she noticed a tweet stating "Sign up for a limited time to reserve your bottle from our first release of Wilderness Trail Bourbon." Being enthusiastic, she signed up. She asked me if I wanted to sign up as well, but as craft bourbons were (are) far from a sure thing, I declined to also get on the list. To be honest, I wasn't sure I'd want two bottles, much less four from a distillery I hadn't heard of before.

Of course, that distillery didn't stay unknown for long. In December of that year, Chuck Cowdery profiled them on his blog, letting us know that the new distillery was just the latest venture from a (then) decade-old company named Ferm Solutions. To quote the company website: "Ferm Solutions is a leading research, product development, engineering and technical service provider to the ethanol and distilled spirits industries."

 This information set my mind at ease. If the company knew enough about fermentation and distilling to make products for and advise others on it, they could very possibly make a decent product themselves. Then I remembered that Town Branch was also part of a large company that should have been able to lend some expertise and they still made a pretty lousy bourbon.

And so I pretty much forgot about being on the Wilderness Trail list until my wife received an email this spring informing her that the bourbon was ready and asking if she still wanted to purchase hers. Remembering the good things we'd read about them over the years, and using it as a good excuse for a long weekend in Kentucky, we jumped at the chance. 

Wilderness Trail Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon

Purchase Info: We bought two 750 mL bottles, one in a commemorative box for $79.99 and one for $45 without. 

Details: Single Barrel. Barrel# 14C28A. Bottle# 37/242. 50% ABV. Non-Chill filtered. Sweet Mash bourbon.

Nose: Classic Bourbon notes of caramel, oak, and vanilla are joined by cooked cereals and cinnamon. 

Mouth: Follows the nose with caramel, oak, cooked cereals, and cinnamon. 

Finish: This is a finish that lingers in both the mouth and the chest. Warm and long. Lingering notes of cinnamon and oak.

IMAGE: A hand-drawn smiley face.

Thoughts: I wasn't paying attention to Wilderness Trail previously, but I sure am now! This is one of the few Craft Distilleries to have put out a product that can not only compete with the big boys in their own style but would beat some of them too. I really like this and cannot wait to see what comes next.

And yes, now I'm kicking myself for not getting on the list too. 


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Good reviews and High West American Prairie Bourbon

An interesting thing that I've only recently realized is that while my hobby is providing reviews for things that other people have made, my living is made providing services and creating objects that live and die by reviews from other people. I'm a Freelance Graphic Designer, I have an Etsy store, and I watch people's dogs. 

It is amazing how bad a poor review or a lost client can feel when you've worked your ass off. It is why I try to couch negative reviews in the nicest way possible. Very few people set out to purposefully create a bad product so just because I think a poor review is justified and is good for consumers, I don't want to discourage someone just because being a dick will get more clicks than being nice about it. 

Conversely, a great review will make you feel like you are on top of the world. Like all the hard work you put into a job was noticed and made someone's life better. It's even better when that good review is hand-delivered and is accompanied by whiskey. 

Which is what happened to me last week. 

There is a dog that I have been watching at least once a week for the last six months or more. He was just a pup when it started and we've had the pleasure of watching him grow up. Last Friday, our client came up the walkway holding a bag that looked suspiciously like a booze bag. In it was a very lovely card letting us know how much she appreciated all we do for him and a bottle of High West American Prairie bourbon. Which was doubly appreciated as we hadn't reviewed it previously. 

Long story short: if you appreciate someone, let them know. It'll make their day.

High West American Prairie Bourbon

Purchase Info: This bourbon was a lovely gift of appreciation from a dogsitting client. Suggested retail price is $34.99.

Details: Age stated as 2 years old. The High West website says that is is a blend of 2- to 13-year-old straight bourbon whiskeys with one of them being an MGP bourbon of the 75% corn, 21% rye mashbill.

Nose: Butterscotch, mint, cinnamon and a hint of pickle juice. 

Mouth: Sweet with a nice mouthfeel. Caramel, nutmeg, dusty oak and a hint of anise. 

Finish: Medium length. Notes of cinnamon, mint, and oak. 

Thoughts: The folks at High West have a reputation for sourcing whiskeys from multiple distilleries and blending them to make a tasty end product. This is no exception. Even though the product is legally only 2-years-old, this is a pretty good dram. They recommend using it in a cocktail, but I think it works just fine on it's own. 


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Tattersall Straight Rye Whiskey

About two and a half years ago, I paid a behind-the-scenes visit to Tattersall Distilling in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I walked away impressed with what they were doing and how they were doing it. The one thing I was a bit sad about was the lack of whiskey. But, knowing that better times (or at least times filled with more whiskey) were ahead, I wrote the following: 

The notable exception is whiskey. Right now the cocktail room uses a bourbon that is sourced from a distillery in Kentucky and bottled by them for use in their cocktails. 
Don’t be sad though. They have started production on a rye whiskey as well as wheated and rye bourbons. The rye whiskey will be 100% rye using rye grain and rye malt and aged for at least two years. They want to put out a straight product. 

Well, it looks like days full of whiskey have arrived for Tattersall as their two-year-old rye whiskey is now for sale at many fine liquor stores in the state of Minnesota. As soon as I saw the announcement I ran out to buy a bottle. 

Tattersall Straight Rye Whiskey

Purchase Info: $34.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Total Wine, Burnsville, MN

Details: 50% ABV. 100% Rye mash. 

Nose: Dark rye bread

Mouth: Nice, thick mouthfeel. Rye bread, molasses, mint, and nutmeg.

Finish: Not very hot but the flavors of wintergreen and molasses last a very long time.

Thoughts: This is a very interesting whiskey. Based on the timeframe and the fact that they say it is 100% rye, I have to assume that they stuck with the rye and rye malt recipe that they mentioned to me a couple years ago. If so, I think you should try this whiskey. Maybe at a bar, but give it a try. I admit this will not be to everyone's tastes but I like it. I like the idea of more rye styles than barely legal rye (51% rye) and 95-5 rye (MGP) being on the market even more.

Curious on what else Tattersall is doing? Well, when this came out they also put out a whiskey made from Stargrazer, a beer from local brewer Bauhaus Brewlabs. And looking back at that old post I found this tidbit: 

For the bourbons, though they wouldn’t tell me the ingredient ratios, they did let me know that they are using different malts for both the wheat and the rye bourbons as well as a specialty yeast that was developed in Scotland. 

Hmmm.... this might be one to keep an eye on.


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