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Coming of Age


mbroo5880i

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More bourbon is coming of age.  I have enjoyed several bottles of "craft" bourbons that are becoming competitive with legacy distillers.  Prices are still slightly higher but not outrageous based on the quality and enjoyment. 

 

Craft bourbons, I enjoy (in no particular order) include:

 

Woodinville

New Riff

Chattanooga Whiskey and Rye

Still Austin

Hard Truth

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I've mostly avoided the "craft" stuff.  On the other hand, I do like to try new things.  My criteria for considering: must use full size 53 gallon barrels, some good reviews (besides the people selling it), price can't be crazy (not more than twice what legacy brand would charge relative to age and proof).

I've enjoyed Nelson's Greenbrier from TN, and Green River from Owensboro, KY.

The Green River is from the renovated location that used to be Medley.  Also recently acquired by Bardstown Bourbon Co.  So, not sure it still counts as craft, maybe when they started.

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So far, New Riff is the only one that has stuck with me.  I'll drink the rest if someone else is buying though.

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On 5/23/2023 at 10:37 PM, PaulO said:

I've mostly avoided the "craft" stuff.  On the other hand, I do like to try new things.  My criteria for considering: must use full size 53 gallon barrels, some good reviews (besides the people selling it), price can't be crazy (not more than twice what legacy brand would charge relative to age and proof).

I've enjoyed Nelson's Greenbrier from TN, and Green River from Owensboro, KY.

The Green River is from the renovated location that used to be Medley.  Also recently acquired by Bardstown Bourbon Co.  So, not sure it still counts as craft, maybe when they started.

 

Aging in 53 gallon barrels is a must.  Same thing with price.  I can get plenty of great bourbon and rye in the low to mid-$20s.  I have yet to buy a craft or even see one in that price range.

 

I have bought Woodinville for $28 on sale.  I can find it everyday for $36.  I really like it but not at $36.  Of course, economies of scale is beyond their control.  

 

I paid $45 for a bottle of Chattanooga 111.  I recently bought a second bottle for $40.  It is a buy for me at $40 but not as a regular sipper.  A special treat.  I really like it.  I have never tried the 91 proof version.  I bought one the other day for $28.  No brainer for me.  I have read there is a difference in the flavor even though the same profile. 

 

New Riff.  I never met a bottle that I didn't enjoy.  Costco used to stock this stuff regular but I haven't seen in there in a while.  An easy buy at $32.  A decision at $40.  Anything above $30 competes with KC9.  

 

I really like Hard Truth but even the 4 year rye is $40.  Tough sell.  I can grab WTR101 for almost half that price.  

 

Yet, if the product is good, I will pay a little extra if to support the brand. 

 

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 5/19/2023 at 10:08 PM, mbroo5880i said:

Hard Truth

 

Any you in particular? Tried some Old Fashioned's at their restaurant in Indy if memory serves, but have not tried their stuff straight. Will have to go back when visiting my Leetle Seester.

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  • 7 months later...

We continue to see the smaller regional distillers coming of age.  I really like New Riff, Hard Truth, Still Austin, Woodinville. Rocktown.  The QPR of their offerings is still an issue but they are producing quality whiskey.  I have no problem purchasing any of their products even at a slightly to moderately higher cost.

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Maybe we are talking about only craft bourbon, but I have a nominee for a new rye distiller to add to this list. I have 2 bottles open from Sagamore rye that is their own distillate: the Bonded 5 and 6 year releases.  They are more known for their NDP stuff, but I am also a fan of their BiB that they make themselves.  Unfortunately in my neck of the woods, the BiB is hard to find.  I am looking forward to tracking this one as they hopefully release a 7 or 8 year version later.

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@mbroo5880i and @Kepler Master Blender Nancy Fraley here, just now seeing this post. I can speak for Still Austin, where we've only ever used 53 gallon ISC #3 char barrels. In fact, since I want to age some of our Bourbon to 8 to 12+ years old, we are now using 63 gallon barrels American oak/Q. Alba barrels from Tonnellerie ô made in Benicia, CA, in order to help with the severe evaporative loss in TX and also to make for a more elegant, less tannic whiskey than what is commonly found in TX. 

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41 minutes ago, WhiskeyBlender said:

@mbroo5880i and @Kepler Master Blender Nancy Fraley here, just now seeing this post. I can speak for Still Austin, where we've only ever used 53 gallon ISC #3 char barrels. In fact, since I want to age some of our Bourbon to 8 to 12+ years old, we are now using 63 gallon barrels American oak/Q. Alba barrels from Tonnellerie ô made in Benicia, CA, in order to help with the severe evaporative loss in TX and also to make for a more elegant, less tannic whiskey than what is commonly found in TX. 

 

That's an interesting detail, and I know they are in very good hands with you Nancy.  Any idea you can share when the product from those 63 gallon barrels will be available in a bottle?  Fully understand if that is not yet something that is known.

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On 3/29/2024 at 7:22 PM, Kepler said:

 

That's an interesting detail, and I know they are in very good hands with you Nancy.  Any idea you can share when the product from those 63 gallon barrels will be available in a bottle?  Fully understand if that is not yet something that is known.

Hey @Kepler, sorry I'm just now seeing this again. So, we first started laying down the 63 gallons barrels about 2 years ago, and we've been monitoring their progress. Even at 2 years old they're very nice, but the whole idea behind using the bigger barrels for central TX hot and humid maturation conditions is to really slow down the maturation process, as well as help retard too much evaporative loss over the years. I also chose barrels that would be very slow in releasing their tannin content, going with at least 24 month yard seasoned staves. 

 

Thus, my plan is that the first of these barrels will start to come on line when they are at least 8 years old, so essentially in another 6 years. But quite honestly, although I've tried very hard to plan a long term maturation program for the Still Austin/TX whiskey, time will be the only thing that really tells how it will mature. I think where the barrels are going so far, the first release at 8 years old seems to be a very real possibility. If we keep those barrels in a "cooler" area of the warehouses, at least relative to how the other barrels mature, then I think we might have a shot at hitting the 10 to 12 year range as well. I hope that helps? 

 

Also, I might add that I would like to also experiment with 300 liter/92 gallon barrels at Still Austin for a 12 to 15 year old Bourbon release. 

Edited by WhiskeyBlender
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21 hours ago, WhiskeyBlender said:

Hey @Kepler, sorry I'm just now seeing this again. So, we first started laying down the 63 gallons barrels about 2 years ago, and we've been monitoring their progress. Even at 2 years old they're very nice, but the whole idea behind using the bigger barrels for central TX hot and humid maturation conditions is to really slow down the maturation process, as well as help retard too much evaporative loss over the years. I also chose barrels that would be very slow in releasing their tannin content, going with at least 24 month yard seasoned staves. 

 

Thus, my plan is that the first of these barrels will start to come on line when they are at least 8 years old, so essentially in another 6 years. But quite honestly, although I've tried very hard to plan a long term maturation program for the Still Austin/TX whiskey, time will be the only thing that really tells how it will mature. I think where the barrels are going so far, the first release at 8 years old seems to be a very real possibility. If we keep those barrels in a "cooler" area of the warehouses, at least relative to how the other barrels mature, then I think we might have a shot at hitting the 10 to 12 year range as well. I hope that helps? 

 

Also, I might add that I would like to also experiment with 300 liter/92 gallon barrels at Still Austin for a 12 to 15 year old Bourbon release. 

 

Very cool! (no pun intended, Lol).  Thanks for the extra details and this gives us something to look forward to!

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