Whiskey Acres Straight Bourbon Review

Who makes it? Whiskey Acres Distilling Company, Seed to Spirit from DeKalb, Illinois

At the first taste straight from the bottle, Kris thought form the first sip it went down smooth with a strong finish, Erik thought the same. Dan said “there is no bark on this one at all”. Adding the ice tamed the finish and brought out more of the sweet corn flavor. On a full melt Erik gave it a well done and it is frickin’ good and I’d have to agree.

Kris and Erik decided to lengthen the scales and make it 1 to 10 instead of 1 to 5.

Kris gave it a 7 and Erik gave it a 7.3

How much: It’ll cost you about $44.99 a bottle.

What do you get in the bottle:  the mash bill is 75% corn, 15% winter wheat, 10% barley – 87 proof aged in 15 gallon barrels with a #3 char.

A little history.  Jim(father), Jamie(son) Walter and Nick Nagele are multi generational farmers. Jamie said “Bourbon has to be made out of a minimum of 51% corn; we grow corn here better than almost anywhere else in the world.” So they decided to make bourbon. In order to get started they watched videos, went to classes and then hired none other than Dave Pickerell master distiller to help them learn the process. Unlike most distilleries trying to get on the market they didn’t source whiskey to start instead they started selling unaged corn whiskey and a corn vodka.

Currently it can only be found in Illinois, so if you’re close by or passing through it is definitely worth the stop.

Redemption Bourbon Review

Who makes it? Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits

At the first taste straight from the bottle to our glasses, Kris thought it was smoother than expected without a harsh finish with a hint of sweet and caramel while Erik was expecting a smoky taste at the first pull but instead tasted oily and vanilla. After the addition of ice Erik liked it better without while Kris didn’t mind and tasted flowers of yore(just kidding) actually sweetened a bit and had a fruity taste. Erik thought the same and said possible apricot or citrus. After a full melt not a whole lot different for Kris and Erik could still taste the oiliness.

Kris and Erik decided to lengthen the scales and make it 1 to 10 instead of 1 to 5.

Kris gave it a 7 and Erik gave it a 6.5

How much: It’ll cost you about 27.99$ a bottle.

What do you get in the bottle:  the mash bill is 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% barley. MGP(midwest grain products) produced whiskey from Indiana then trucked over to Bardstown, Kentucky for blending and aging.

A little history.  Dave Schmier and Michael Kanbar started the company together in 2010. They have a small bottling facility where batch size is usually 10 barrels. The Redemption name was chosen to reflect the idea of Rye re-claiming its status – prior to prohibition when it was the #1 selling type of whiskey. They describe it as a true reflection of America’s native spirit. In 2015 they were acquired by the Deutsch Family.

Whiskey Barrel Shortage

A surge in the demand for bourbon has led to a shortage in whiskey barrels. Exports of bourbon were in excess of 1 billion, that’s right with a “B” billion in 2014. Bourbon production has increased more than 50% from 2010 to 2013. In three years the craft-distilling companies have doubled to about 600 distillers.

The housing market crash of 2007 led to a number of lumber mills closing, they rebounded in 2014 but the supply of white oak has not caught up with the demand for barrel makers (Coopers). High timber prices, the lack of loggers have added to the problem. There is no quick fix for the bourbon industry’s supply problem. Since the bourbon has to be aged, the available supply is whatever was put in oak barrels 10 years ago when demand was lower. Distillers want to put more into barrels now but the barrels remain hard to get.

At a craft spirit conference where there was a presentation on staves(the wooden strips that make up the side of the barrels) and bungs(the plug for the bung hole) and the room was overflowing. Not for the lecture but the hopes of where to find barrels. The shortage is currently getting better and with the current tariffs could help close that gap.

Jefferson’s Bourbon Review

Who makes it? Castle Brands

Kris and Erik found that straight for the bottle it had a sweet spicy smell.  On the first pull Kris thought it had a nice flavor that wasn’t overpowering without a harsh finish.  Erik took in a sweet smell and raisnins. That might of been the mixture of vanilla, butterscothch notes we were supposed to smell. Adding a couple of ice cubes Kris thought it mellowed it out nicely for a relaxing sipping and before you know it it’s gone. In the end Kris really enjoyed Jefferson’s Bourbon and gave it high marks and put it as high as 4 out of 5 while Erik gave it a solid 3.5.

How much: It’ll cost you about 29.99$ a bottle.

What do you get in the bottle:  Actually four different Kentucky straight bourbon whiskies of different ages and combining them together for a blended bourbon  at 80 proof.

A little history.  It was started by Trey Zoeller(a native Kentuckian) and his father Chet who is a bourbon historian.  How they got the name, they simply had no marketing budget and wanted a memorable name so they picked Jefferson’s and put his image on the bottle.  My favorite tidbit is that an 8th generation grandmother was arrested in 1799 for moonshining.

Remembering Dave Pickerell

He was nicknamed the “Johnny Appleseed of whiskey” from all his consulting work, direction in experimentation not only in the industry but also in his own work.  He explored the concept of terroir in American whiskey and barrel finishing.  Terroir is the set of all environmental factors that can affect a crop’s traits.  Also creating the first solera-aged whiskey which is process of aging liquids by fractional blending in such a way that the finished product is a mixture of ages, with the average age gradually increasing as the process continues over time.  He has literally been all over the US from his 14 stint at Maker’s Mark where he was the vice president of operations and master distiller to be called upon to start a little whiskey company called Whistle Pig.  In Ancram, New York directed operations and production plus master distiller of Hillrock Estate Distillery. 

Not to mention being one of the master distillers to re-create George Washington’s recently found recipe for rye whiskey.  Unfortunately Dave Pickerell passed last year on November 1st in San Francisco at 62 years young.  It all started when he graduated from the University of Louisville as as a chemical engineer then on to working for a firm building distilleries, then working at one and becoming a master distiller. 

His last major project was for a little know band called Metallica to produce their blended straight whiskey Blackened.  To set this one apart, not only did he let it age in brandy barrels but also use sound waves to agitate and anger the spirit harnessed in those barrels.  Each barrel was blasted with each members very own playlist giving each one it’s own signature. The best thing besides the label on the bottle is says “remastered by Dave Pickerell”.  He has done so much and taught so many that is indelible mark will be missed.

The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride

The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride combines classic and vintage style motorcycle riders all over the world to not only come together for a great cause but also look good doing it. This event was inspired by Don Draper from the TV show Mad Men and Mark Hawwa from Sydney, Australia decided it would be a great way to get bike enthusiasts together and ride. It then turned into something more as it was decided to focus on men’s health and raise money in support. It started in 2012 with 3 thousand riders in 64 cities, the next year 11 thousand riders in 145 cities raising 277,000 dollars. Last year it has now grown into 114 thousand riders in 648 cities in 102 countries raising 6.2 million dollars! In support of men’s health ride with me and register www.gentlemansride.com if you can’t ride and would still like to donate click here: https://www.gentlemansride.com/fundraiser/WhiskeyKaptain

Maker’s Mark Whisky Review

Who makes it? Beam Suntory

Kris found that it had a good bite straight from the bottle while Erik thought it was strong but still had a nice finish. After a couple of ice cubes it had a sweeter smell, a smell of caramel. It didn’t get much better for Kris while Erik enjoyed it a lot more with added ice and a little melt. Overall it was Kris’s least favorite so far while Erik didn’t put it at the top of his list, it wasn’t at the bottom either.

How much: It’ll cost you about 22$ a bottle.

What do you get in the bottle: The mash bill consists of red winter wheat(16%), along with corn(70%) and malted barley(14%).

A little history. Maker’s Mark began when Bill Samuels Sr., purchased the “Burks Distillery” in Loretto, Kentucky for $35,000 and in 1954 production began and in 1958 the distinctive red wax seal made it’s appearance and to this day every bottle is hand dipped.