PDA

View Full Version : Town Branch Bourbon



Tucker
10-19-2011, 19:40
Alltech has started selling their Town Branch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey in Lexington. If anyone's had the chance to try some I'm interested hearing your opinion.

[photo from The Bourbon Review (http://www.facebook.com/thebourbonreview) facebook page]

SmoothAmbler
10-20-2011, 08:14
I like the packaging. Love to hear reviews too.

StraightNoChaser
10-20-2011, 12:36
That is a pretty sweet bottle. Price?

kyrocklover
10-20-2011, 17:09
I've been told it is $23.99 at liquor barn. Planning on finding out in a couple days.

sku
10-20-2011, 19:28
Does anyone know is this sourced or did they distill it?

Tucker
10-21-2011, 06:13
Does anyone know is this sourced or did they distill it?


"Production of the ales, whiskey and after-dinner drink has outgrown the existing buildings, and the new distillery will provide needed expansion. Also, for about four years, the company has made the bourbon that it will formally unveil in a few months.


That bourbon is stored in hundreds of barrels in a warehouse in Bardstown, "quietly maturing," Lyons said. Alltech has bought a 300,000 square-foot commercial building on Angliana Avenue formerly headquarters for Eagle Beer Distributors and will store the bourbon barrels there once production is ramped up.


Initially, the distillery will produce 1,000 cases of bourbon, but Lyons said production could reach 40,000 to 80,000 cases."

http://www.kentucky.com/2011/09/10/1875973/alltech-breaks-ground-for-bourbon.html

PJFZ1
10-24-2011, 09:41
I got 2 bottles of Town Branch last week - one for me, and one for a present for a friend..

Got it home and tried it, and it really was a shock - the taste bordered on being foul, and I won't be giving the bottle away as a present.

I think Lexington Brewing Company has a great beer in their Bourbon Barrel Ale, and I keep some of it around for company and take it on trips out of town for others to enjoy.. But Pearce Lyons seems to be trying to make a great scotch maybe? I saw him on the news coverage of it last week, and he said they were making a premier "whiskey", he didn't use the word Bourbon, and his accent is foreign. If I had been served it without knowing what it was, I actually might have thought it to be a scotch.

I hate that to be my first post, as I enjoy Bourbon and trying new (to me) bourbons, But I really didn't like Town Branch at all.

I just read that linked article - Pearce Lyons is the Distiller (the bottle I got are signed), and he's the Alltech Company president (has alot more products than Bourbons to worry about), but it says "The distillery also will produce Pearse Lyons Reserve whiskey and Bluegrass Sundown, an after-dinner bourbon-and-coffee beverage."

I think they are marketing, not making good Bourbon.




R

kyrocklover
10-24-2011, 14:02
PJFZ. Your comments about Town Branch surprise me not. I had a taste over the weekend and all I will say is I will not buy a bottle anytime soon. I may try again in a few months but doubtful unless I see better reviews.

The Pearse Lyons Reserve is terrible IMHO as well, but that's another issue.

PJFZ1
10-24-2011, 14:06
kyrock - I saw this thread and your earlier comment and then signed up on the forum - I'm just north of you and was going to wanr you.. Maybe we can get together and have a bourbon sometime..

Reck73
10-24-2011, 20:39
I bought a bottle this past weekend for a friends birthday. We opened it and I apologized immediately. Smell was awful, taste was wretched, nice bottle though. Lol

Tom Troland
10-25-2011, 07:11
The back label of Town Branch announces that the bourbon was "produced" by Alltech. Just like the previously released Pearse Lyons Reserve. I take this to mean that neither was actually distilled (or, at least, not wholly distilled) at their Lexington plant. After all, if a distiller releases a product that he or she has actually distilled, why not proudly announce this fact on the bottle?

Alltech brews great beer, and they have put significant resources into their Lexington distillery. All of this is admirable. But I hope that they will be transparent regarding the origins of their whiskey.

I saw Town Branch on the store shelves this past weekend. But I took a pass despite the reasonable price. I'm waiting for an Alltech whiskey that is clearly labeled, "Distilled by Alltech". Then I'll bite. Also, I'd prefer a whiskey at higher than 40%.

wku88
10-25-2011, 20:40
Wow, tough crowd! I bought a bottle at Liquor Barn today, adn am sipping it as I type. Loved the bottle, and at $23, what the heck.
I thought it had a nice nose, but then I'm getting over a cold, what do I know. At 80 proof, it's not hard to drink neat, which I did with my first taste. First thing that came to my mind was SCOTCH! Later in the evening, a swig of Weller Special Reserve and Old Fitz BIB confirmed that Town Branch is not what I consider bourbon.
Sweet taste, almost like honey, especially with ice.
Enjoyable, but not the brash mouthful that EWSB 95, or even the OFBIB is.

Value? I guess that's up to the individual, but I'd rather have a fifth of Town Branch than Baker's for example. For $23, I don't feel cheated.

wku88
10-26-2011, 17:36
Correction, I meant to say Basil Hayden, not Baker's.

jmpyle
10-26-2011, 20:36
I picked up a bottle last weekend in Lexington. They may very well have distilled this stuff at their distillery but it sure has some similarities to Barton juice to me. That's only a guess but the fact that it aged in Bardstown might also confirm that. If someone knows, please do chime in.

I disagree with most that it's bad stuff. I don't believe it's bad at all, and it grows on you. It's just not great stuff either. The nose is tight and clean, but once it gets going it gives off good minerality, banana and candy corn sweetness. A dose of butterscotch, corn, and vanilla on the palate. The flavors and nose are just too thin and flat to be very enthused about.

justintbr
11-09-2011, 11:01
I'll agree with Jason. When I first tried it, I was a little confused. But when I realized that the secondary grain was malted barley and not wheat or rye, then my tasted buds automatically adjusted. There was about a 2 week gap when I first tried it and the second tasting, and I will say I enjoyed the 2nd serving more. Some whiskeys also need a little time to open up, as my palate seems to enjoy this one after its set in the glass for 4 or 5 minutes. With that said, I don't think this will be challenging PVW, Antique or the Masters Collections for the upper accolades or awards.....but it is priced below $30 and I think it's worth every penny of that.

This juice is being distilled in Lexington at the brewery and being stored in Bardstown (not at Barton's or Heaven Hill so that leaves just one other spot).

Cheers,

Tom Troland
11-09-2011, 12:58
If Town Branch bourbon was distilled in Lexington, why do they say "produced" rather than "distilled" on the label? Also, the label describes the product as "Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey", and it provides no age statement. So the bourbon must be at least four years old. Yet an article in an online publication, Business Lexington, dated September 2008, describes the establishment of the new distillery and the hope that they will have two year old whiskey available by 2010. So how could they have four year old bourbon already?

tmckenzie
11-09-2011, 15:19
what does it say the mash bill is? corn and malt?

justintbr
11-11-2011, 10:30
If you ever visit the Alltech Brewery, you'll see 2 pretty big pot stills in the back of the facility. That is where the Bourbon is being distilled/produced. They are currently building a separate facility in an adjacent lot to move those stills into, so they can have more room to make beer. Once you try it, I don't think you're going to dispute its not being produced there, because it has a very unique recipe of low corn (compared to the industry standard) and a high malted barley amount. The maturation is happening off site in Bardstown. There are many Bourbons that don't have an age statement, because the FAA doesn't require any Bourbon at least 4 years old to produce an age statement. An example would be Maker's Mark, who doesn't have an age statement, but says their product is bottled at a certain taste profile which they claim is around 6 years old. If a Bourbon doesn't have an age statement on it, you know it's at least 4 years old, or they are getting ready to get legal trouble with the Feds. The Lexington media doesn't have a great track record of providing all the correct facts.

the scofflaw
11-18-2011, 09:35
Talked to someone who would know about this:
The stuff that's in the town branch bottles is Ridgemont Reserve 1792 (or something from that distillery that's being re-purposed). He told me that the stuff in the bottles isn't very good, but the product that they are distilling at their lexington warehouse is fantastic..a sweet mash wheated bourbon. Obviously, it isn't ready/aged yet. Really strange marketing tactic from my perspective..why put a sub-par bourbon out under a label that you apparently have a good product in the pipelines for?

jburlowski
11-18-2011, 11:12
...Also, the label describes the product as "Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey", and it provides no age statement. So the bourbon must be at least four years old. Yet an article in an online publication, Business Lexington, dated September 2008, describes the establishment of the new distillery and the hope that they will have two year old whiskey available by 2010. So how could they have four year old bourbon already?

Bourbon can be of any age; presumably only minutes in a new, charred, oak barrel. Straight bourbon whiskey has to be a minimum of two years old. SBW, if less than four years old, must state the age. If over four years old, the age statement is optional.

Tom Troland
11-18-2011, 14:08
Exactly, so Town Branch now in the bottles could not have been distilled at the Alltech Lexington plant.

cowdery
11-18-2011, 14:15
If you ever visit the Alltech Brewery, you'll see 2 pretty big pot stills in the back of the facility. That is where the Bourbon is being distilled/produced. They are currently building a separate facility in an adjacent lot to move those stills into, so they can have more room to make beer. Once you try it, I don't think you're going to dispute its not being produced there, because it has a very unique recipe of low corn (compared to the industry standard) and a high malted barley amount. The maturation is happening off site in Bardstown. There are many Bourbons that don't have an age statement, because the FAA doesn't require any Bourbon at least 4 years old to produce an age statement. An example would be Maker's Mark, who doesn't have an age statement, but says their product is bottled at a certain taste profile which they claim is around 6 years old. If a Bourbon doesn't have an age statement on it, you know it's at least 4 years old, or they are getting ready to get legal trouble with the Feds. The Lexington media doesn't have a great track record of providing all the correct facts.

Perhaps that's the problem. Alltech is submitting its labels to the FAA for approval instead of the TTB.

This is why I haven't paid much attention to Alltech. They seem to be doing it for all the wrong reasons, from corporate prestige to executive ego, and everything they have done has seemed a little hinky. If they don't even know how to talk about whiskey I'm not so sure they know how to make it.

kyrocklover
11-18-2011, 16:06
Alltech absolutely does not lack a corporate ego.

Clavius
11-18-2011, 19:00
I work for a wine and liquor retailer in the Lexington area and recently had a chance to try Town Branch. I have to agree with previous comments that the stuff is awful. Which is unfortunate as I was hoping it would at least be decent because having a bourbon made right here in Lexington would be neat. Amazingly, the stuff has been selling well though.

cowdery
11-20-2011, 10:41
What a lot of dabblers are discovering is that you can make whiskey according to a formula and do everything right, from the right grind on the grain to the right settings on the still, and come up with something awful. It's just not as easy as it looks.

jburlowski
11-20-2011, 16:19
What a lot of dabblers are discovering is that you can make whiskey according to a formula and do everything right, from the right grind on the grain to the right settings on the still, and come up with something awful. It's just not as easy as it looks.

Kinda like sex... :bigeyes:

tmckenzie
11-21-2011, 04:24
What a lot of dabblers are discovering is that you can make whiskey according to a formula and do everything right, from the right grind on the grain to the right settings on the still, and come up with something awful. It's just not as easy as it looks.


some of these dabblers you are talking about have not got the feel for it. sadly some of them never will. making whiskey is not something you can learn how to do. they think you buy a still and the stuff to go with it and just do it. there is a lot of instinct in making whiskey that lots of people do not have. look at all the Beams.

PJFZ1
11-21-2011, 06:05
there is a lot of instinct in making whiskey that lots of people do not have. look at all the Beams.

I hate to take this thread off the topic, but there is alot of knowledge on this forum,and I don't follow your reference to the Beams,, Please fill in with a bit more info?

Tom Troland
11-21-2011, 07:40
You can't learn how to make whiskey? Really? Is whiskey making encoded in the DNA of the Beam family? Keep in mind, owing to the principles of human reproduction, that each new generation of the Beam family carries an entirely new set of genetic information from the non-Beam parent. Neglecting, of course, virgin birth. So I don't think all of those Beam distillers were born with any distilling knowledge or instincts. They learned it. Just like everyone else who distills. Of course, some people learn better than others.

p_elliott
11-21-2011, 07:58
I hate to take this thread off the topic, but there is alot of knowledge on this forum,and I don't follow your reference to the Beams,, Please fill in with a bit more info?

This is a good question for Chuck to field but the the short answer is: That members of the Beam family have been very involved in a lot more distilleries than just Jim Beam and Heaven Hill.

Tom Troland
11-21-2011, 08:37
Bourbon enthusiasts interested in learning about the Beam family and its involvement in distilling over many generations should consult the book American Still Life by Paul Pacult. The book emphasizes the history behind the modern Beam brand, but it includes much information about the Beam family in general.

cowdery
11-21-2011, 09:12
There's a chapter in my book about the Beam family, which also appears in a new anthology called Barrels and Drams.

We don't need to get into a nature/nurture argument. The Beams are a big family and many of its members, going back generations, have been distillers. I've written about Craig Beam and how he first started to learn about it from his grandfather, whose first lesson was about yeast-making. That was Eddie Russell's first lesson too from his father, Jimmy. How many micro-distillers know anything about yeast-making beyond: "open bag, pour yeast into tank, add water, stir"?

The point about the newbies is that many of them buy a still, follow the instruction manual, and have cards printed up that say 'master distiller.' I'm not saying you have to be born to it and can't learn, but there's a lot more to it than following an instruction manual, a lot you have to learn by doing, and it helps to have a patient teacher.

Some of the posts above, on both sides, are a bit simplistic. The truth, as it usually does, lies somewhere in between.

p_elliott
11-21-2011, 10:05
Chuck

I like your thoughts about learning to make yeast and the micros just opening a bag. Too bad though liquid yeast is becoming a thing of the past for the majors too. I read with great interest on how Jim Beam caught wild yeast and grew it on the back porch in your book.

Paul

cowdery
11-21-2011, 19:23
When Craig Beam talked about Grandpa Earl teaching him how to make yeast, he wasn't talking about capturing and propagating wild yeast. (What Jim Beam did.) He was talking about making a production quantity of yeast from the jug yeast, which is a fairly elaborate process in its own right, and had to be done by the master distiller weekly. My favorite part was that after he set the yeast mash and covered the tub with a piece of cheesecloth, he covered that with a board and put a heavy monkey wrench on top of the board to make sure no one bothered it.

jburlowski
12-21-2011, 13:14
Had a chance to taste Town Branch this past weekend. I did not find it horrible or borderline undrinkable as others have suggested. But the mash bill, low proof, and (relatively) young age make it thin and unappealing.

mdinsmore
12-22-2011, 19:43
Bought a bottle last night. What a bottle of bourbon!!!!! Tried a glass with a couple of ice cubes.....tasted awful. Thought maybe as a mixer It would be better...NOT! Tasted like mold smells. Wondered whether I can return it as bad, wife says not. Alltech couldn't have aked bourbon drinkers to try it before they bottled and distributed. Only the second time I've considered pouring bourbon down the drain. If I hadn't paid for it myself I would have! Very disappointing. Not sre what to do with the remainder of the bottle. Makes a nice decoration I guess.

Tucker
12-30-2011, 10:58
The current issue of The Bourbon Review has Town Branch on the cover and an article on Pearse Lyons.

Pearse Lyons has a degree in biochemistry, a master's degree in brewing and a PhD in yeast fermentation and spent his early career with the Irish Distillers Group.

I don't question his expertise, but I do question the decision to release his first bourbon with a mashbill of 51% corn and 49% malted barley. Most aren't going to recognize this as bourbon, even though it meets the legal definition.

keith18
12-30-2011, 11:40
Is the problem here the recipe (51% corn/49% malted barley)? I actually got into bourbon through scotch, so I've often wondered what a scotch influenced bourbon would taste like. Apparently, it tastes like crap. Good to know.

pepcycle
01-12-2012, 17:15
I stopped by Thoroughbred Liquors to visit my ole buddy Sal Marino. He offered up some Town Branch and I accepted.

My first impression was so different from anything I've read here.

Saz Jr.!!!

I don't know where this was distilled or what the mashbill is supposed to be, but this stuff is a dead ringer for Saz Junior on the palate.

The grassy, musty notes classic. It doesn't taste 6Y/O like Saz Jr but I think its related.

YMMV

grubbster
01-14-2012, 06:35
I picked up a bottle of this on the recommendation of my local store owner. Boy, was it a disappointment. Not quite sure what to do with this bottle.

mosugoji64
03-04-2012, 18:15
Had the opportunity to try this at a store today and totally expected to hate it. Surprisingly, I didn't. I have no idea if it has changed since the earlier releases commented on here, but what I tried today had a great banana character on the nose and palate, and a whole grain bread flavor on the finish that was very tasty. I don't know if it's something I would drink every day, but I'm not sorry I tried it. Hopefully they're changing things for the better over there. I'm pulling for the micros to do some good things and keep the majors on their toes.

tmckenzie
03-05-2012, 03:11
I will have to try it. The thing is. The majors are on their toes. We just have to figure out out to get the rest of the micros on theirs.

mosugoji64
03-05-2012, 13:11
I will have to try it. The thing is. The majors are on their toes. We just have to figure out out to get the rest of the micros on theirs.

Good point. From what I've read on this site, it sounds as though some are on their way. They just need some time to turn out a mature product. The others, as Chuck Cowdery has pointed out, will fall by the wayside. I just hope the market has the patience to give the good ones the time they need.

TheDude
03-05-2012, 13:58
Got the chance to sample this recently. Tastes like Scotch...which doesn't surprise me with the malted barley content.

I'm not a fan of scotch (not into the "earthy" peat taste), so this isn't one I will buy.

tmckenzie
04-04-2012, 05:06
I picked up a bottle yesterday, and I have to say, I was impressed. Not at first though. The stuff has to open up. I let it set 15 mns and came back and it is almost rich. First smell was bad though. I just sniffed the bottle which had about a third of it gone and it smells amazing today.

Ejmharris
04-04-2012, 06:22
I picked up a bottle yesterday, and I have to say, I was impressed. Not at first though. The stuff has to open up. I let it set 15 mns and came back and it is almost rich. First smell was bad though. I just sniffed the bottle which had about a third of it gone and it smells amazing today.

That is good to hear. I have had zero interest in buying any but I may try to get a sample from a friend here. These guys also make the KY Bourbon barrel ale that I do enjoy quite a bit.

Bourbon Boiler
12-24-2012, 12:09
I tried this for the first time at a family Christmas party this weekend. Not terrible, but it certainly could have used another 24 months in a barrel. It didn't find it at all repulsive, but if the barley is going to be the differentiator, it needs time to reach maturity as well.

Bourbon Boiler
12-24-2012, 12:09
That is good to hear. I have had zero interest in buying any but I may try to get a sample from a friend here. These guys also make the KY Bourbon barrel ale that I do enjoy quite a bit.

I do enjoy the Bourbon barrel ale, as well as a couple more of their offerings.

theglobalguy
12-24-2012, 12:24
I do enjoy the Bourbon barrel ale, as well as a couple more of their offerings.

Not a bad young bourbon. But had to admit was confused as hell as local shop a few months back. Blue labelled bottle sitting there, # on the side of implying special batch, no hang tag and the staff had no idea (and was $10 higher in price if memory serves). Turned out to be special bottling for UK Basketball winning national championship. Guess if Maker's can crank out special bottle after special bottle others can too.

Vosgar
12-25-2012, 21:45
I think there's real potential for this whiskey if they give it a few more years in the barrel and up the proof a little bit, IMHO. As it stands right now, the nose is decent and the finish is pretty good but it's kind of thin and 80 proof just doesn't quite make the grade.

Ejmharris
12-26-2012, 06:11
Does anyone know if the stuff inside the bottle is their whiskey? I thought they had sourced whiskey to at least start the brand but wasn't sure if it has switched to their distillate.


Mike

tmckenzie
12-27-2012, 03:34
I am pretty sure they made that whiskey. It is different enough to be. Pots make different bourbon. I had another taste of it over Christmas and I still say I like it.

Clavius
12-27-2012, 16:11
I tried Town Branch again recently. First time I had it, when it initially came out, it just tasted harsh and awful. This time however it tasted much better. More like bourbon rather than Irish whiskey. Still not something I'd buy but I'm glad that it seems to have gotten better.

squire
12-27-2012, 18:43
A couple thousand years ago the poet Martial wrote about a lady's golden yellow hair . . .

"She swears it's her's and true she swears cause I know where she bought it."

Of course it's their whisky, they bought it, they own it. How old is the whisky, how long have the stills been running. Do the math guys.

MyOldKyDram
03-10-2014, 10:12
So has anyone tried their new rye yet, or is it our Lexingtonian duty to guinea pig this one?

tanstaafl2
03-10-2014, 12:25
So has anyone tried their new rye yet, or is it our Lexingtonian duty to guinea pig this one?

Clearly it is a matter of civic pride that you locals do the honors! Especially considering the other products produced to this point...

I never have quite figured out if the bourbon was produced with 2 different mashbills and the one that seemed to be less "appreciated" was one of the two mashbills. Rumor seemed to be that one mashbill was high in malted(?) barley while the other (current one) is a more standard mashbill.

MyOldKyDram
03-10-2014, 12:29
I wish there was pride involved. I would love for these guys to produce something, anything good. They have this and a new barrelaged Barleywine coming out. And I'm sure they will both suck.

Paddy
03-10-2014, 17:56
I wish there was pride involved. I would love for these guys to produce something, anything good. They have this and a new barrelaged Barleywine coming out. And I'm sure they will both suck.

Let us know! JK....:grin:I can't wait for them to get something (anything) dialed in.

If and when I see the rye, I'll take one for the team (if you promise to come over and be my wingman)!

MyOldKyDram
03-10-2014, 18:08
You got it, Paddy!

I'd bite the bullet myself if it were priced along with their bourbon, but at $50? Yikes. Hell. I may still grab one tomorrow. I really do want these guys to be something I can support. Just hasn't happened yet.

Ejmharris
03-10-2014, 18:11
The barrel aged Barleywine has me more interested than any thing else they do.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

MyOldKyDram
03-10-2014, 18:13
Me too, but at $17 a four pack they are pricing themselves into elite category.

the scofflaw
03-11-2014, 19:53
i've got some of the barleywine in my fridge. not very good. it's kind of interesting but mostly tastes like a more bitter and funky version of the bourbon barrel ale, not enough of the bourbon barrel sweetness to balance out a pretty mediocre barleywine. i also didn't think the bourbon barrel stout was any good, just a below-average take on what is a pretty good idea in theory.

Paddy
03-12-2014, 13:44
I tried to find the rye today, but the monger said it'll be sometime next week...