I state in my Statement of Ethics that if I accept a review sample, I will disclose it at the beginning of the article. Please consider it disclosed. I’d like to thank the folks at Filibuster Distillery for providing this sample to me with no strings attached. As always, all thoughts are just my opinion.
I’ve gotten used to whiskey showing up at my house. It took a while, but now that it happens about once a month or so, it is getting to be old hat. Usually it starts like this:
I stumbled across your blog and was very excited about it!
I was wondering if you’d be willing to review our (fill in the blank).
They almost always just stumbled across my site and are always excited by it or are enjoying it so far. In return, I almost always say yes when someone comes out and offers me free whiskey. I mean it’s free whiskey. Even if it isn’t any good, I’m sure I can find something to do with it after the post goes live.
Most often, I’ll get a notification from UPS or FedEx, within a few days of replying in the affirmative, that there is a package on its way to me. Sometimes I tell them yes, and nothing happens. But one thing that never happens is that a sample shows that I didn’t have an email about first. Mostly because that is really the only way to get my physical address, which is obviously needed in order to ship something to me.
So, when a box of whiskey bottles showed up in mid-December from Virginia and I didn’t have a record of an email correspondence? Yeah. I was confused. I am an email hoarder. I almost never delete an email. And even if I do, I never empty my trash. I said above that “Filibuster Distillery” sent these to me because I honestly have no other idea as to who did.
Looking through their website, I come away impressed by the company. It is a woman, and minority, owned business. One of the ad agencies I worked for was the same, it’s something to be proud of. Unlike many of the folks that enter the craft spirits business, they aren’t strangers to the spirits business, having “experience in specialty spirits retail.” Plus they seem to be doing a lot of things on the distillery side to run an environmentally friendly operation. They do source some of their whiskey, but based on their labeling they also distill some as well. Based on their website, they seem to cask-finish a lot of their products in wine barrels. Seems like a good operation.
So then I ran into some questions. The bottle lists the bourbon as “aged for less than four years in new charred oak casks,” but the website states that it “is a blend of older and younger barrels – 4-6 year being typical.” Their bourbon is described on the bottle as a straight bourbon. It also says that it was “Bottled by Filibuster” as well as being “Distilled in Virginia and Indiana” thus disqualifying it from the straight designation (as per §5.22(b)(1)(iii)). The Boondoggler whiskey doesn’t use the straight designation. It seems to be a blend of different styles of whiskey. Once again this one states it was aged “for less that years” [sic]. The rye says that it is “Bottled by Filibuster Distillery” and doesn’t mention a state of distillation.
So now I am throughly confused. I’m not sure who sent this to me or how it got here and I have no idea which of the information they are using is correct as the website contradicts the label and sections of the label contradict other sections. I reached out to the distillery in mid-December via the contact form on their website to try to get these questions answered, but didn’t receive a response prior to publication time.
However, one thing I am not confused by is whether I like them or not.
Filibuster Dual Cask Bourbon
Purchase info: This review sample was provided by the distillery for the purposes of this review. It sells at Total Wine locally for $42.99.
Details: Batch 27. 45% ABV. The label lists a mash of 70% corn, 20% rye and 10% barley.
Nose: Cinnamon, honey, light mint and some dried grain notes.
Mouth: Warm with cinnamon red hots, cherry and some oaky notes.
Finish: On the short end of medium and warm. Lingering notes of black pepper and coconut.
Thoughts: This has notes of both mature whiskey and very young whiskey. Which would make sense if they are blending some of their juice with MGP as the label seems to describe. The problem is that unlike some people who have done this very successfully, this one is a bit all over the place in terms of flavor profile. Not a fan of this one. Pretty meh. It’s ok but doesn’t align with my palate. It might do ok in a cocktail though where other ingredients can smooth over some of the rough spots of this one.
Filibuster Dual Cask Rye
Purchase info: This review sample was provided by the distillery for the purposes of this review. It sells at Total Wine locally for $43.49.
Details: Batch 8. 45% ABV. The label lists a mash of 90% corn and 10% barley.
Nose: Mint, pipe tobacco, dried grasses.
Mouth: Spicy, mint, cherry.
Finish: Spicy and of medium length. Lingering sweetness, mint, spice and a hint of coconut.
Thoughts: This tastes a lot like MGP rye and with the mashbill they list, that makes sense. 90/10 It isn’t far off from 95/5. In fact, based on the fact that their other styles list Indiana as a state of distillation, I had assumed it was until I read the back label.
I like this one. But then I am a fan of the MGP style of rye. This one does say “Bottled by” on the back and there is no listing for a state of distillation. The price is in line with other ryes on the market so I’d say that this one is worth a shot if you can get past the confusion on the label.
Filibuster “The Boondoggler” Whiskey
Purchase info: This review sample was provided by the distillery for the purposes of this review. It sells at Total Wine locally for $33.99.
Details: Batch 20. 45% ABV.
Nose: There is a good hit of rye spices right off the bat with mint and honey coming along with it.
Mouth: Honey, mint, black pepper.
Finish: Decent length. It follows the mouth with lingering notes of black pepper, mint and honey.
Thoughts: This one is also pretty good. It tastes like a lot of my house-made rye/bourbon blends. I like it. And at less than $35 it is decently priced as well.
Overall, I’d say that two out of three are worth the asking price (locally) and I guess that ain’t bad when you are talking randomly appearing whiskey that you are not sure exactly who it came from.
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