Ragged Branch Distillery is located near Charlottesville, VA. As a “farm-to-bottle distillery” they grow all their own grain, on land they either own or lease. Their initial whiskeys were bourbons. However, back in 2015 they had an excess of rye and were deciding what to do with it. Master Distiller Dave Pickerell stated what would seem like the clear choice: they should make a rye whiskey! He formulated a mash bill that is a bit unique, being 83% rye and 17% malted barley. So I was interested in finding out what this somewhat unconventional Ragged Branch Virginia Straight Rye Whiskey was like!
Brough Brothers has an interesting back story. Three brothers opened a distillery not far from where they grew up in a poor area of Louisville, KY — one of the poorest in the state actually. They did so not only to begin their distillery operation but to bring some economic opportunities to the area. Along the way, Brough Brothers became the first and only Black-owned distillery in the state of Kentucky. This a sourced product though Brough Brothers hope to have its own distillate soon.
Aged 7 & 15 Years Private Stock Bourbon is the second release from 15 Stars. The first release was their 14 year old Timeless Reserve, which I have reviewed previously. 15 Stars 7 & 15 Year Private Stock Bourbon is, as the name states, a blend of 7 & 15 year old Kentucky Straight bourbons. The bourbons are being sourced from an undisclosed distiller, while 15 Stars’ own whiskeys mature.
Heaven Hill Select Stock has been an annual release for a while now. However, until its debut on the You Do Bourbon Experience, it was not very well known. This year’s release, Heaven Hill Select Stock 14 Year Bourbon, is aged in tapered stave barrels. The goal was to see how this unique barrel affected the bourbon’s taste. Read on to find out!
Wilderness Trail 8 Year Bourbon is a small batch, which in this case is 18-20 barrels. This bourbon is Bottled In Bond, so it’s 100 proof by definition. The first batch is being sold only at the distillery, with the second batch to be sold throughout Kentucky. There’s definitely a noticeable difference between this 8 year old bourbon and their regular release, which is around 5 years or so. The flavors are definitely more mature. Notably, this bourbon changed considerably aftter having a day or two to open up. The fruit flavors, as well as the more mature flavors really developed, as did more complexity. This is all around a very enjoyable bourbon, and definitely worth the 8 year wait!
Balcones Tres Hombres Texas Whisky was created in collaboration with Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Texas band, ZZ Top. Hence, the whisky’s name comes from the band’s first top 10 album, Tres Hombres, which was released in 1973. Tres Hombres Texas Whisky originally debuted in November 2021. However, the bottle I bought was from the second release, which became available May of this year. It bears the markings batch: ZZ22-1, date: 4.28.22 on its label.
Ragtime Rye Applejack Barrel Finished pays homage to two early staple spirits of the Northeast, rye whiskey and applejack. There is no hiding the applejack flavors in this rye! Right from the start, I am greeted by apples in multiple forms. However, those flavors blend perfectly with the rye spiciness, both subduing and embracing it. The spice and a bit of a burn that come out in the finish remind me that this is indeed a 100 proof rye. A very apple-ey rye, but a rye for sure!
Jacob’s Well Bourbon is one of the 2 inaugural releases of the James B. Beam Distilling Company’s new Hardin’s Creek brand. Hardin’s Creek Jacob’s Well Bourbon is the polar opposite of their other inaugural release, Colonel James B. Beam Bourbon. Whereas Colonel James B. Beam Bourbon is a 2 year old bourbon meant to be reminiscent of the bourbon produced by Col. Jim Beam shortly after Prohibition ended, Jacob’s Well Bourbon is at the other end of the spectrum. It is a near equal blend of 16 year old bourbon made from the traditional Jim Beam bourbon mash bill and a 15 year old high rye bourbon.