It may just be because it feels like it’s August outside, but it’s hard to believe that September is nearing its final week. Time flies when you’re having fun drinking bourbon at Monarch during National Bourbon Heritage Month.
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.
Elijah Craig Small Batch (94 proof)
Looking for a value bourbon that consistently delivers a sweet, nutty, dark chocolate profile? Then Elijah Craig Small Batch is here for you. Distilled by Heaven Hill, it recently underwent a change with the bottle style and dropping the 12-year age statement. But, the juice inside is still quite good.
Widely available, affordable (bottle is under $30 and a pour at Monarch is only $4 on Wednesdays), and easy to drink. We’ve previously reviewed Elijah Craig Small Batch, along with its brethren, the now-retired 12-year and the barrel proof.
Knob Creek Single Barrel (R&J store pick) (120 proof, 12 years old)
If you have not tried Knob Creek Single Barrel yet, you’re in for a treat. This bourbon has a bit more rye in the mash bill than most others, delivering those baking spice notes in the nose and palate. As a product of Jim Beam, the unmistakable peanut flavors are present, too, though more like a chocolate covered honey roasted peanut for this bottle. We were fortunate enough to sample this straight from the barrel prior to it being bottled exclusively for R&J Discount Liquor. This is a great pour neat, but also does very well over ice.
Medley Bros. Kentucky Straight Bourbon (102 proof)
Like the Wathen’s Single Barrel we sampled during week 2, this bourbon is produced by the Medley Family Company, which contract distills its bourbon from, we think, Heaven Hill. The same 77% corn, 10% rye, 13% malted barley recipe is used for all Medley products. This bourbon is not age stated, so by law, it is supposed to be at least 4 years old.
Similar to the Wathen’s Single Barrel, this bourbon has a dry character to the nose, almost like stale caramel pop corn. Despite its relatively high proof, this does not drink hot. There’s a subtle spice to it, with some underlying toffee and nuttiness. The finish is warm with some lingering candy corn and grain.
Old Forester (86 proof)
This bottle is the Old Forester brand’s entry level bourbon. At 86-proof, it is quite mellow. Put this over ice, and it will be very difficult to pick up on the bourbon’s nuanced flavors. When poured neat, the prominent banana note that Old Forester is known for is at the forefront. There is also an oily mouthfeel with an underlying metallic sweetness.
If you’re a fan of this, then we highly recommend sampling from Old Forester’s Whiskey Row series. Monarch currently carries each of the three bottles in that series.
Four Roses Small Batch (90 proof)
Our last stop is Four Roses Small Batch. Which, coincidentally, is currently our pick of the month! So, head to Monarch, get your punch card, have a pour, then come back and comment for yourself on our pick-of-the-month page.
We’ll wrap things up next week in grand fashion by selecting from one of Monarch’s top shelf bourbons to cap off our month-long bourbon celebration.