Jefferson’s Reserve Very Old Bourbon Review

If you’ve been drinking bourbon for a while now you’ve probably heard of Jefferson’s. Produced by McLain & Kyne, Jefferon’s takes the concept of small batch to a new level. Their “very small batch” approach marries a mere 8-12 barrels of various age bourbons to produce their bottled bourbons. (As compared to the 200-300 barrels used in traditional small batch bourbons.)

Jeffersons Reserve Very Old Bourbon ReviewJefferson’s Reserve Very Old is one of four whiskeys currently offered by McLain & Kyne. Their other products include Jefferson’s, Jefferson’s Presidential Select and Jefferson’s Straight Rye Whiskey. (Jefferson’s Ocean bourbon is a unique and hard to find release – 600 bottles – done as an experiment in extreme condition aging. You can read more about it here.)

Jefferson’s Reserve Very Old is a truly elegant bourbon and one that I wouldn’t mind enjoying night after night. It’s at the higher end of mid-priced bourbons but I think that it’s well worth the price.

This bourbon holds a special place in my heart since it was one of the first bottles of bourbon that my wife purchased for me a number of years ago. She had apparently done some research and found that Jefferson’s Presidential Select was a great high-end choice so she set out to our local liquor store to buy me a bottle. When she got to the store she learned that they didn’t have it. Instead they recommended that she buy Jefferson’s Reserve. Luckily for me she did – along with a few others bourbons since it was cheaper than what she had originally set out to by me for my birthday. (Talk about a bourbon win!)

When you have a chance grab yourself a bottle and invite a few friends over. Sit outside and enjoy the night air while you sip on this wonderful bourbon and enjoy some friendly banter. I guarantee it will be a night to remember.

As always let me know in the comments what you think about my Jefferson’s Reserve Very Old review.

Bourbon Name: Jefferson’s Reserve Very Old
Year: 2011 (933/2400 Bottles | Batch No.88)
How I Drank It: Neat, in my special bourbon glass (please don’t be jealous)
My Nose Noticed:*

Butterscotch | Raisins | Vanilla (Special Note: Very little alcohol smell)

First Sip: Oak | Tobacco| Brown Sugar
The Burn**: Nice and smooth on the front of the tongue with just a little burn on the back as you swallow. Not to much of a finish in back but there is a nice warm finish across my tongue that was different from other bourbons.

Update: 10 minutes after starting this review the burn started it’s way up my throat very slowly and methodically. It was gone and came back. Simply amazing and definitely something special. Let me know if your experience the same things or not. 

Neat, Splash or Rocks: This is a nice and smooth bourbon that can easily be drank neat. However, adding a bit of water really expands this one and makes it better. It’s like the flavor profile got stretched wider but not more intense. So I have to say that adding water is probably the best way to enjoy this bourbon.
Share With: People you like and with whom you genuinely want to share a great glass of bourbon. Some might say not to waste it on bourbon newbies but I think it’s a great choice to help introduce them what a more complex and mature bourbon tastes like.
Worth The Price: Jefferson’s Reserve Very Old comes in the $50-60 range in most places. I believe that to be a fair price for something that is this smooth and can be easily enjoyed in a multitude of ways.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: This is a must have bottle at home if you’re looking to upgrade the level of your collection. If you can enjoy what this one brings to the party you are on your way to becoming a true bourbon lover.

*I like to let my bourbon sit in the glass for at least 5 minutes before I start to smell it or have a drink. I personally find that it’s better to let some of the alcohol waft off before diving in. If I’m drinking bourbon on the rocks I skip the waiting and dive in both feet first.

**Some of you refer to this as the “finish” but let’s be honest. Don’t we all just want to know if it burns good?


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About Patrick "Pops" Garrett

Patrick Garrett, "Pops" as he's known to his friends, is the founder of Bourbon & Banter, LLC and claims the title of Chief Drinking Officer (CDO). A long-time marketing professional and photographer, Pops hopes to use his professional experience and love of Bourbon to spread the Bourbon Gospel and help everyone realize the therapeutic power of having a good drink with friends.

  • Stuart

    Couldn’t agree more. Jefferson’s is in my Kentucky Derby Party line-up each year and tends to disappear a little faster than the others. Great post!

  • TDHeller

    My first experience with Jefferson’s Reserve. A Birthday Present to myself my first impression wasn’t good – 30 minutes after opening to breathe it had a strong alcohol bite which I found disquieting.
    HOWEVER after a few sips neat, a single ice cube added to the glass brought out a rich and full bodies Bourbon “Whisky” with notes of caramel and vanilla I have grown to appreciate in a fine Bourbon.
    My first intended use was as a high end Bourbon, to Mix in Juleps for Derby Day. But now feel no need to desecrate this lovely sippin’ whiskey with sugars or mint to confound it’s natural taste.
    Good job!