Every so often as I prowl the aisles of local liquor stores looking to broaden my whiskey horizons, I see something that makes me pause. Most of the time that pause is because the item is intriguing. Something that I expect will be good. That I look forward to trying.
This was not one of those times. On this particular occasion, I saw something that brought out morbid curiosity. The very same morbid curiosity that makes us do things like gawk at an auto accident, go digging in the back of the refrigerator to “find out what that smell is” or buy a bottle of whiskey that has the TerrePure name on it.
If you weren’t aware, TerrePure is a technology that has been developed by the Terressentia Corporation out of South Carolina to rapidly age spirits. They claim they can take 6 month old bourbon and make it taste like it is four years or better. It is a claim that has many a whiskey aficionado cringing every time they read it even though the CEO throws around the medals their products have won in competitions as signs of the quality of their product.
Of course most people who know anything about spirits competitions know that anything under gold medals are variations of a participation trophy. I mean, if no medal means it doesn’t “represent the category,” that means a bourbon only has to resemble bourbon to get a medal. Then the lowest medal (bronze) is good. So good = passing. Above that are 4 more level (Category Winners, Double Gold, Gold and Silver) which I have to assume would relate to A, B, C and D of the US letter grade system since Bronze is a passing grade which I always saw as D-.
All of this went through my head as I stood there looking at the small rack of mini bottles hanging in the middle of the aisle at Total Wine. And it really is neither here nor there except as an explanation as to why I bought two minis instead of a full bottle. But preconceived notions aside, I did not buy this thinking that it would be bad. I bought it thinking that I might learn something. I gave the technology the benefit of the doubt. If I thought it was going to be terrible, I wouldn’t have bought it. Life is too short to waste time drinking terrible whiskey.
Hayes Parker Reserve Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey
Purchase info: $1.49 for a 50 mL bottle. Total Wine, Burnsville, MN
Details: 45% ABV. Aged at least 6 months.
Nose: Grain forward, ethanol and a vague fruitiness.
Mouth: Brown sugar, silage, raisins, spearmint.
Finish: Fairly short with lingering minty ethanol notes.
Thoughts: This is a bad whiskey. If this is an example of what the TerrePure process produces, they can keep it. To me, this product doesn’t taste like bourbon. In fact, it reminds me of the fact that most countries mandate 3 years of aging before you can call something whiskey. This is so bad, it makes me long for the same rule here, if only so to keep people like this from adulterating the good name of bourbon.
For another opinion, this is a photo I took of the actual tasting notes my wife took the day we tasted this one. Obviously, she was feeling a bit silly toward the end.
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