O. H. Ingram River Aged Straight Whiskey, I found interesting whiskey. Aged in a floating “rickhouse” at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, in Ballard County, Kentucky. The theory being the gentle rocking of the barrels enhances the aging process. This process has its roots in the river transport of barreled distillate from Bourbon County delivered to New Orleans, with the transformed taste that apocryphally led to our native spirit. Does it make a difference? I have no idea, but there are a lot of people putting barrels on ocean voyages, riverboats, playing music to them, and even aging in cranberry bogs.
This is a rebranding of the original Rabbit Hole Straight Kentucky Bourbon reviewed in 2018 by Matt Self and Pops (Rabbit Hole Bourbon Whiskey). A young bourbon without the complexity you would expect from the mash bill. Definitely drinkable with some interesting flavors, would be curious to try an older version of this bourbon. I believe it has some elements that would benefit from more time in the barrel.
The Blaum Brothers message of quality and authenticity comes through on this product. The smoked malt adds to the complexity and a full four years in the barrel, not overly common in ryes is evident in the taste. Having tasted this during bourbon heritage month, I feel like I am cheating, but I will try it in a Manhattan as soon as we get to October.
In the press release they say their goal was to produce a “legit and bonafide bourbon whiskey”, which may sound like a modest goal. Having tasted my share of craft bourbons, I will say it is no easy thing. I believe they accomplished their goal. In addition, I really respect what these guys are doing in their quest for authenticity. Craft distilling without a fake background story and mystery mash bill or blend. This is one of their first non-sourced, aged whiskies and it is a credible offering. They waited a full four years to offer a straight bourbon and I think it was worth it. I also, appreciate the discipline of offering at a reachable price point, not an easy thing for a new distiller.
They named Penelope bourbon after the new born daughter of one of the co-founders, Mike Paladini. He along with his life-long friend, Danny Polise, both from Basking Ridge, NJ, formed Penelope bourbon bottling Company. The description of the mash bill is a little puzzling. They indicate that it is a blend of three bourbons: Corn, Wheat, and Rye, all containing Malted Barley for the fourth grain component. In addition, they decline to disclose the actual mash bills of these three components. Their ages are stated as 3, 3, and 2 years, respectively. All that being said, Penelope is a sweet young bourbon that is very approachable, while not deep in flavor or complexity.
I am very much a gin enthusiast, with multiple selections in my bunker. I sampled the Loch & Union in a Glen Cairn glass neat, with a drop of water and with ice. I prefer it full strength since the lightness of flavor comes out best on its own. I also tried it in a martini (made properly as below). I enjoyed it and recommend a twist over an olive to enhance the citrus notes.
The Boone County Distilling Co. traces the history of distilling in Boone County Kentucky back to 1833. This is when William Snyder and his brother, began the Petersburg Distillery on the site of their existing flour mill. The current operations began in 2015, over 100 years since the closing of the Petersburg Distillery in 1910.
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