Blue Run is a brand on fire. After capturing a rapt audience with their early limited edition releases they recently pivoted to producing more widely available expressions to satisfy their feverish fanbase. Love them, hate them, or fail to understand them, one thing that can be said about Blue Run Spirits is they know how to assemble an experienced team.
Hidden Barn Bourbon Batch 2 has an impressively creamy texture and a delightful display of developed flavor for such a grain-forward bourbon it is a proof of concept, though it’s not yet a fully fleshed-out concept unto itself.
Since we’re just a mere two weeks out from Bourbon Heritage Month I thought it would be a nice change of pace to do a video review of two of the most recent brand releases – the 2022 Yellowstone Limited Edition and the 2022 King of Kentucky 15-Year. Finding these limited releases isn’t easy or cheap so take a few minutes and find out whether either is worth the effort this year. Or if you’re short on time you can scrub through the video to find my Bottle, Bar or Bust rating information.
Virginia Gentleman Bourbon has been produced by the A. Smith Bowman Distillery since 1934 when the distillery opened on the Bowman farm. That farm is now the town of Reston, Virginia and the distillery is currently located in Fredericksburg, VA. Virginia Gentleman first came on the market in 1938 and is still available, mostly in the Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC area but I have found it on web sites elsewhere in the US.
As a proof of concept, Freddie Noe knocked this expression out of the park. With notes of strawberry puree, that familiar Jim Beam peanut brittle, and flavorful baking spice to go along with a truly satisfying Kentucky hug, Hardin’s Creek: Colonel James B. Beam has a lot to like on the palate. The greatest nit to pick, of course, lies with the decision to price this bottle at $80.
Hardin’s Creek: Jacob’s Well has generated a swirl on intrigue ever since its TTB label filing went public. So, with all the hype surrounding this release, I was curious to see how it would ultimately taste. The result? Perhaps unsurprisingly it displays a lot of oak, but otherwise, it features a tasty mélange of classic bourbon notes: caramel, Cherry Garcia ice cream, rich leather and vanilla extract lead the pack with subtler rye spices and apricot flavors finding their way as well.
I liked the Rare Hare 1953 bourbon. It was a nice pour. This is a softer whiskey despite the 111-proof point, it drinks like a cognac. I enjoyed the fruit-forward palate, and it really took precedent to the typical bourbon flavors that were peeking out from behind the curtain. I tasted this in a Glencairn but would be interested to try this again in a snifter and warmed.
So, in March, when Noelle Hale reached out to me to tell me all about Holladay Distillery in Missouri, I expected more of the same. Of course, it all begins with a story, doesn’t it? Back in the 1850s, Kentuckian Ben Holladay knew exactly what the limestone springs in Weston, MO were good for, and he made good use of it. Ben’s distillery, the oldest business in the Kansas City area, underwent a $10 million renovation in 2015 and started distilling bourbon again for the first time in three decades. Would I like to try their first release, a 6-year bottled-in-bond, real Missouri bourbon?
Broken Barrel’s 95 proof straight bourbon continues the trend set by their 88 proof California Oak expression in that it has a nice blend of unexpected flavors in concert with classic bourbon notes. Where it deviates from the trend, however, is that unlike its lower proof sibling these flavors fail to harmonize.