Lookey-loo! I finally got round to doing an actual bourbon review! And only a week late. So, just real quick, to make sure we’re all up to speed. What is Bourbon? To start, the mash (the fermentables in water) must be 51% corn. The rest of the grain is usually a mix of barley and rye. The other thing is that it’s got to be aged in new charred oak barrels – and quite frankly it’s not any sort of whisky unless it’s been aged on oak. Interestingly Bourbon does NOT have to be made in Kentucky, that’s just Kentucky straight bourbon, which has it’s own special marketing designations. Normally, when these are fermented (and this is generally true for the bulk of large modern distilling operations) a sour-mash is used to ferment the mash. In Beer, you’d mash by steeping the grains in water at a temperature of about 150F. Provided you have enough barley (natural source of amylase), the starches in your mash will convert to sugars that can be fermented. In a sour-mash, everything is just dumped into a fermentation vessel of some sort and allowed to slowly convert the starches to sugars and ferment at the same time. Lactic acid builds up in the process giving a distinct sour taste that comes through so strongly in american whiskeys & bourbons.
In any case, that’s enough about bourbon as a thing. On to reviewing this specific whisky. First off, it is smooth like a Canadian whisky, but without all of the heavy caramel flavors you usually get in one of those. Normally, Bourbons tend to be a bit more rough around the edges.
The nose here reminds me of apple, but it also smells ‘raw’, as if it’s just been brought out of the still and into the cup. It’s sort of hard to describe, but it’s like the grain flavor has been reduced into it’s essential grainy bits and fed to you. The flavor is kinda bland actually. A hint of caramel, a hint of oak, or toffee, a bit of something nutty and some spice, but that’s sort of it. The finish is not super long and a wee bit spicy. Really, it’s about as smooth as the taste itself. If I’m being honest, this bourbon reminded me of what would happen if an Irish Whiskey knocked up it’s Canadian Whiskey girlfriend.
On a scale of Mix to Neat. I’d actually put this as shots. (yes, below mix, it mixed plain and din’t add much to the drink). Anyhow, it was cheap, and I wouldn’t say don’t buy it, but meh, sometimes you need to take shots – like when arguing with someone politically diametrically opposed to you on Twitter. Nobody is going to win and you really just need something to bring you off the ledge of apoplectic rage.