- DISTILLER: Undisclosed. Bottled by Bearcat Bourbon.
- MASH BILL: Undisclosed. Rumored to be Kentucky Bourbon.
- AGE: NAS – No Age Statement
- YEAR: 2018
- PROOF: 80 (40% ABV)
- MSRP: $29.99, available in Arkansas, Connecticut, Kansas, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Wisconsin
- BUY ONLINE: Wine-searcher.com
NOSE: Orange | Spice | Bitters | Cherry
TASTE: Orange Bitters
FINISH: Long and bitter
SHARE WITH: I’m honestly not sure.
WORTH THE PRICE: No. $30 is a very expensive bottle of what is essentially orange bitters.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: As a fan of Bourbon Old Fashioneds, I really wanted to enjoy this whiskey. Unfortunately, the best thing about Bearcat Bourbon is the nose. This is the least enjoyable pour I’ve tried so far in 2018, and as such, a Bust.
OVERALL: I came across Bearcat Bourbon at Distill America this past February. Always interested in something new, it caught my eye. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of background information on Bearcat Bourbon.
Bearcat Bourbon’s website touts itself as, “80-proof infused Bourbon whiskey created in honor of female distillers, bootleggers, and industry innovators.” It is available in two versions: Infused with Notes of Orange Peel and Spice or Infused with Espresso and Aromatic Bitters.
In the glass, the appearance is a pale orange amber. However, Bearcat Bourbon contains caramel coloring. Swirling it in a Glencairn produces a thick rim with fat, watery legs. After the initial legs drop back to the pool, the remainder sticks to the sides of the glass.
Aromas of orange citrus flood the air, even with the glass several feet away. Lifting the rim to chin level brings only orange and spice to the nose. Raising the rim to lip level greatly reduces the orange and all that is picked up is bitters. Hovering directly under the nostrils offers a slight cherry. It is as if at the three different levels there is the deconstruction of a Bourbon Old Fashioned. Inhaling through an open mouth brings those ingredients together to make the Old Fashioned.
The mouthfeel is soft, exactly as expected at this proof. However, what hits the palate is strictly orange bitters. There is absolutely nothing else to speak of. I tried the Kentucky chew, I tried throwing it back, and I tried just sipping. No other flavors came forward.
The finish is long and bitter, enough to almost bring a tear to my eye. I did not enjoy this at all.
I would be remiss if I failed to point out the bottle states quite clearly “Serve it Straight.” However, this was so bitter I decided to add water, hoping to dilute the flavor.
To be completely fair, I did what I would do with any other whiskey – I added two drops of distilled water using an eyedropper. That changed up the nose to a very appealing cinnamon and orange, with the cinnamon becoming more dominant the higher the rim was raised from chin to nostrils. Unfortunately, the flavor did not change. It remained offensively bitter.
As a final resort, I added a healthy pour of distilled water. The aroma changed to almost pure orange, but the bitterness, again, did not change. And, for the first time in my history of composing whiskey reviews, I dumped the contents down the drain.
bearcat /bair-kat/ noun. 1920’s slang term for a fiery-spirited woman50
Little-Known Fact:Although whiskey may be known as a “man’s drink”, women played a major role in the history of American whiskey – as early distillers, bootleggers and industry innovators.Bearcat Bourbon was named in honor of the countless women throughout history whose unsung contributions were indispensable to the story of American bourbon whiskey.
Disclaimer: Bearcat Bourbon provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.