Week 2 of National Bourbon Heritage Month has come and gone. In case you haven’t heard, Monarch is celebrating all month long with a special punch card featuring a variety of bourbons and a bourbon cocktail. Those who complete the card get a t-shirt and engraved high ball glass.
We’ll be chronicling our celebration as we move through the punch card.
During week 2, we had the following four bourbons:
Buffalo Trace Straight Bourbon (90 proof)
No bourbon trail would be complete without Buffalo Trace. This is what many might call a “gateway” bourbon, or perhaps a benchmark of sorts. Buffalo Trace is sweet, oily, and dependable. It is a wonderful bottle to use when beginning to venture into bourbon. You can read our previous review on this, and the rest of the Buffalo Trace lineup, here.
Wathen’s Single Barrel Bourbon (94 proof)
This bourbon is released by the Medley Family Company, which has a fairly long history in the bourbon market. This particular brand is contract distilled at an unknown Kentucky distillery (many think it is Heaven Hill) according to the Medley Family Company’s mash bill of 77% corn, 10% rye, and 13% malted barley.
The description on the bottle states that this bourbon is “light and dry.” This is spot-on correct. In fact, the nose is so light, you can barely pick up a trace of alcohol at all. The palate and finish carry strong grain and buttered corn notes, with some dried strawberry, and light caramel.
Baker’s Small Batch Bourbon (7 years old, 107 proof)
Baker’s is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch collection, which also includes Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s, and Booker’s. However, it has a unique quality among this group. Though Jim Beam’s products are notorious for their peanut-driven flavor profile, Baker’s carries this attribute the least. Many think this is due to a unique yeast strain in the mash bill.
Nevertheless, at 7 years old and 107 proof, it certainly is not short on flavor. Butterscotch, caramel, and brown sugar notes are present throughout. Despite its 107 proof, this one does not drink hot, but does definitely carry some baking spice in the palate and finish.
Bulleit 10-year Bourbon (91.2 proof)
Bulleit is somewhat of a mystery. The brand is owned by industry giant Diageo. And, although the label says that the bourbon is distilled by the Bulleit Distilling Company, it is not. The most recent (though a few years old now) confirmation of who distills the bourbon was Four Roses. Four Roses may still be the sourced distillery. But are Four Roses’ mash bills and yeast strains used? We don’t know.
What we do know is that Bulleit 10-year makes for a quality pour. Similar to Four Roses, there is an excellent balance of fruit and spice, along with the traditional sweet notes of caramel and oak. Not very intense, this is a very approachable bourbon.
Bourbon Heritage Month is halfway over. But, there’s still time to pick up your punch card and head over to Monarch. We’ll be there again next week to start on the other side of the card!