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Bluegrass Distillers Pickleback Bourbon Review

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Bluegrass Distillers Pickleback Bourbon
Bluegrass Distillers
Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Barrels Used to Age Pickle Brine
100 Proof

Have you ever had a pickleback? It’s a shot of whiskey chased by a shot of pickle brine. I sort of winced at the idea, but then I remembered that I’m a big fan of Russian food accompanied a nice shot (or 10) of vodka chased by pumpernickel or rye bread and a pickle. So I was interested in giving this new Bluegrass Distillers Pickleback bourbon a try.

According to Wikipedia, the term “pickleback” was coined by Reggie Cunningham at Bushwick Country Club in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2006. It was originally Old Crow bourbon chased with brine from McClure’s spicy pickle spears. Apparently Mr. Cunningham was introduced to the drink when a southern woman asked for a shot of pickle juice alongside her whiskey. Evidently the drink really took off at the bar, and then spread worldwide. Jameson’s is apparently now more commonly used than Old Crow.

Tasting Notes

Let’s taste it:

🛏 Rested for 15 minutes in a Glencairn

👉🏻Nose: Kosher dill pickles, hint of baking spices, honey, pickle juice, touch of cinnamon, cornbread, big ol’ pickle; mild alcohol burn
👉🏻Taste: Baking spices, oak, caramel, pickle
👉🏻Finish: The pickle is back, becoming more noticeable and here to stay. Long pickle finish with a moderate burn


Well. This Bluegrass Distillers Pickleback is definitely not for the pickle-averse. The nose is all out pickle, but after I got acclimated to it a bit, I could pick out some young bourbon flavors in the background. When I took a sip, for a fleeting moment the bourbon flavors made an appearance, only to be rapidly trampled by a herd of pickled gerkins. The pickley finish lasts for a long time, and the pickle flavors linger, well, pretty much eternally. I highly recommend that you don’t start your evening with this one, or pickles will likely be all you taste for the rest of the night.

This is definitely a whiskey for aficionados of the pickleback shot and true pickle lovers. Are you a pickleback fan? Cheers!🥃🥒

If you would like to learn more check out our full write up and video about Bluegrass Distillers on or our review of Bluegrass Distillers Bottled-in-Bond Wheated Bourbon!

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