Reviews

St. Augustine Distillery Line Up and New Release

Who makes it? St. Augustine Distillery

Mashbill: 60% corn, 22% malted barley, 18% Hard Red Winter Wheat

Where it’s from: St. Augustine, Florida

In this line up we start with the Florida Straight bourbon coming at 88 proof. We taste throgh these bottles with Wll Hensler, the Chief Operating Officer and the VP of Production, Ric DeMontmollin. Will gets a rustic note, cigar box cedar, and chocolate notes and Ric added in cocoa. Kris and Erik found that on the nose was easy, woody with a sweetness to it. On to the taste with ripe red fruit, a little nuttiness with a little bit of that chocolate making an appearance. For it being a wheat forward bourbon Kris definitely thought it had a more robust flavor which the 22% barley contributes to. Most often times wheated bourbons are smooth, softer and on the lighter side. Most bourbons we have tasted stay in the 4-6% malted barley range. Ric says that wheat tends to be more single noted while corn and barley you can get more variance out of. That’s why they decided to go with higher malted barley.

Then we moved onto the Port Finished Bourbon on the nose a little bit of that higher proof came through but this time a bit more fruitier aspect still containing that sweetness. On the finish ripe red fruits, plums, raisins. Will suggests that the Port Finished pairs well with a cigar. Kris thought it had a more subtle flavor but longer on the finish compared to the Straight.

Lastly the Cognac finished. On the nose a lot of leather, tobacco then on the finish Will says he gets Red Velvet cake while Ric thinks flan has prominence. As for Kris and Erik, they thought it dried out the palate but had a solid flavor profile and a long lasting finish and were very impressed.

Ric took some new make right off the still for us to nose and taste coming in at 149 proof, man that’ll get ya if you you’re not ready. Holy smokes! That is brining on the heat!

We pose the question to Ric if there is a right and wrong way to nose and taste. He said there isn’t a wrong way but definitely taste everything and make a mental catalog of those flavors and smells!

Huge thanks to Will and Ric for taking the time and extolling their expertise! This is a limited release that only four French Cognac casks were filled for this finishing and it’s only being sold at the distillery. We highly recommend taking the tour and stopping by the shop afterwards, tasting some samples, support local and buy a bottle or two!

St. Augustine Distillery Tour with Will Hensler

Who makes it? St. Augustine Distillery Tour

A short #whiskeyventure to south landed us in St. Augustine Florida, the oldest city in the US and one of the first to bourbon distilleries to open in the Sunshine state. We meet up with Will Hensler the Chief Operating Officer to tour the distillery which is housed in an over hundred year old building that was once an icehouse and powerplant. Will gives us a little history and then we visit where the magic happens. Watch the vid to find out more about their process and how much works goes into Craft Distillation. Next is barreling, their barrels come from one of the oldest family owned cooperages and we get to see how much of that whiskey gets soaked into the staves. From start to finish it’s all done right there in St. Augustine. From milling the grains, distillation, barreling, storing and bottling! See how it all comes together and stay tuned for the review where bottles are lined up and we drag Will and Ric into the tasting room. Plus a new release!

Luca Mariano Single Barrel Bourbon and Barrel Pick

Who makes it? Still Luca Mariano Distillery

Mash Bill: 75% corn 21% rye 4% malted barley

Where it’s from: Danville, Kentucky

Now we’re down to the last 2 bottles. The single barrel Bourbon and a Total Wine Barrel Pick.

Jenn goes into more detail about what it means to be a Master Blender. She will get 20 samples at a time and taste through them at strength then proof them down to 103 and see which ones stand out. For the Old Americana she likes to pick a barrel from floors 2,3,4,5 and 6 to blend so you get the full flavor of what Luca Mariano has to offer. The ones she samples that are great from the get go and they get bottled for the Single Barrel. One special barrel gets the Omni Omni by her and Francesco for the Signature bottling for that year.

Kenny tells us how the oldest stone house in Kentucky built by William Crow is on the Luca Mariano property along with bootlegger tunnels from Guy Jones!

Alright, now for the tasting! On the Single Barrel Bourbon Kris picked caramel on the nose while it made Erik think of sweet cream corn, cereal with maple syrup drizzled on top. Then the taste and finish. Kris caught hints of vanilla mixed with sweet caramel while Erik couldn’t shake the corn and maple syrup. Kenny said it had a buttery taste with caramel, with Subway macadamia nut cookies. Jenn on the other hand, had the caramel come through with a hint of smoke and a leathery feel. Then onto the Total Wine Barrel Pick. This was a bit challenging as Kris of the nose found sour notes with stone fruit. Erik pulled in caramelly and an acetone. We loved Jenn’s description of a chocolate chameleon as the flavors kept shifting and then Kenny did us all in as he nosed a full on Twix bar. The taste was awash with nodding heads and Kris could swear that sweet tea notes made an appearance.

We were very impressed with Luca Mariano line up and their barrel pick is an obvious stand out. In the end Kris’ favorite was the Single Barrel Rye while Erik would take home the barrel pick.

For the price? The Old Americana will run you about 45 out the door while the single barrel will cost you about 62 dollars. If you can find the Signature, it will cost you about 88 dollars.

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