12 Foot Beard Jowl Bristle Whiskey Review Header

12 Foot Beard Jowl Bristle Whiskey Review

In Bourbon Whiskey Reviews by Jim Knudsen2 Comments

With a sweet front end of dried apricot and green apple, 12 Foot Beard explodes into a full-bodied delight of grain, caramel, tannin, and a touch of black tea. With a finish of cloves, other spices, and the smallest 90 proof burn our whiskey has character, just like the bearded men of Pike County so many years ago.12 Foot Beard Jowl Bristle Whiskey
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12 Foot Beard Jowl Bristle Whiskey

  • DISTILLER:  Distilled in TN (undisclosed) and then bottled by Wood Hat Spirits, LLC in New Florence, MO. Released by 12 Foot Beard Jowl Bristle Whiskey who appears to be owned by Tortuga Liquors, LLC
  • MASH BILL: 80% Corn  | 15% Rye  |  5% Malted Barley
  • AGE: 5 years near Shelbyville, TN with another year of aging in Missouri for a total of 6 years of aging in re-charred barrels
  • YEAR: 2017
  • PROOF: 90 (45% ABV)
  • MSRP: $34.99
  • BUY ONLINE: The Wine & Cheese Place
NOSE: Vanilla  |  Spice |  Slight Oak

TASTE: Rye Spice  |  Green Grass  |  Light Sweetness

FINISH: The finish was medium in length with the persistence of spice. The burn was there, but not long.  It was surprising that the oak did not come through, and the whiskey tasted younger than its age would suggest. The sweetness of the corn was evident primarily in the mouthfeel which was thicker than expected but not fully creamy.

SHARE WITH: 12 Foot Beard was interesting although not overly deep. Share with friends who are interested in craft spirits – particularly if they have facial hair.

WORTH THE PRICE: The supplier did not provide us with the MSRP, but it was available on-line at $34.99.  While this seems somewhat pricey for what it is, considering the current environment of whiskey pricing if you are curious go for it.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: With limited distribution, outside of local Missouri area it is unlikely you will find this at a bar.  So, if you find it, it is probably worth a bottle.

OVERALL: 12 foot Beard is not unlike some other craft whiskey: it has a cheeky name, interesting bottle, and a back story, which in this case has little to do with the product. While I do not have a beard, I did allow a three-day growth of stubble before reviewing 12 Foot Beard. I have been fighting the urge to be the cranky old guy and rail on about the hipsters ruining the whiskey business.  The whiskey while not complex, is not bad. 12 Foot Beard seemed like a young craft whiskey in spite of its being aged five years plus. The extra year of aging in Missouri may have smoothed out the flavor but did not add significantly to the depth.

Learn more about Jim’s whiskey preferences and check out more of his reviews…

Nothing is more important than keeping one’s word. It doesn’t matter if it’s in business, sport or even just day-to-day stuff; your word elevates you from a hairy bag of water to something of value.


In 1860, the men of Pike County, Missouri set the standard for keeping your word. Due to a lost bet, one of the men grew a beard of astonishing length. As uncomfortable as his fantastic follicles were, he never waivered. It wasn’t long before others followed suit, but none were as majestic or long as the 12-foot beard. It’s because of this history that we understand the weight of making a promise to distil a good whiskey. We swear that this smooth whiskey is perfect for fishing trips, BBQs, camping and even spelunking. And here in Missouri, we always keep our word.


With a sweet front end of dried apricot and green apple, 12 Foot Beard explodes into a full-bodied delight of grain, caramel, tannin, and a touch of black tea. With a finish of cloves, other spices, and the smallest 90 proof burn our whiskey has character, just like the bearded men of Pike County so many years ago.

NOSE: Dry Cedar  |  Spice  |  Unidentifiable Chemical Note

TASTE: Caramel  |  Pepper  |  Dry Oak

FINISH: The finish was medium in length and consisted of heavy spice (think pepper, not baking) and dry oak. The oak eventually fades away leaving just the spice on the tip of your tongue.


WORTH THE PRICE: Do I think it’s worth $34.99? No, I do not. This one needs to be under $20.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: I’m gonna have to call this one a bust.  Don’t waste your time or cash hunting this one down. Accept a free pour if offered, but that’s it.

OVERALL: I’ll be honest in that it tasted better than what I expected per the nose but the balance was off with too much pepper and oak drowning out the promise of caramel sweetness. I’m not a fan. To be honest, it’s a whiskey that shouldn’t exist. Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey are made to be aged in brand new charred oak barrels. It’s law as well as a tradition. That tradition exists for a reason. The reason being that the new charred barrels bring the best out of the distilled whiskey. By using re-charred barrels, they’re messing with tradition and the recipe that makes bourbon and Tennessee whiskey so damn good.

At a price point of $34.99 folks should be ready and willing to drink this one neat, but I can’t imagine anyone doing so. At best it’s a utility bourbon to be used in making whiskey-based cocktails for your friends that don’t actually like whiskey. But as I said above, don’t go out of your way to buy a bottle. Let this be one of the new releases that you let get away.

Learn more about Pop’s whiskey preferences and check out more of his reviews…

12 Foot Beard Jowl Bristle Whiskey Background Info

We reached out to the folks behind 12 Foot Beard Jowl Bristle Whiskey with a few follow-up questions regarding the production of their whiskey and here’s what we found out:

Why did you choose to use re-charred barrels?

These barrels were filled at the worst of the barrel shortage a few years ago and was an effort by the distiller to utilize more production than they had new barrels. Re-charring involves taking the barrel ends off, using a hone to remove the charred wood, and then reburning it and re-assembling.    This is a not uncommon technique for aging Scotch, a bit rare here in the U.S. The re-charred barrels give a somewhat lighter, complex flavor that we find unique.   

Since this was distilled in Tennessee, was the Lincoln Country Process used?

Yes, the whiskey did go through the Lincoln Country Process.

So it would appear that we’ve got ourselves a whiskey that started out life as a Tennessee whiskey (most likely distilled by Dickel) but was then aged in re-charred barrels prohibiting the producers from calling it anything but a “whiskey distilled from bourbon mash.”

We live in interesting times.


Disclaimer: 12 Foot Beard Jowl Bristle Whiskey 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.

About the Author

Jim Knudsen

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Jim Knudsen has lived in every region of the United States and traveled the world, always enjoying experiences with spirits. While he has sampled local spirits in nearly 50 countries on 5 continents, he always comes home to bourbon. Jim is an accomplished global sales and marketing executive with a degree in Physics from Michigan State University and an MBA from Baldwin-Wallace College. Having been raised in Michigan in a household rich with the experience of enjoying drink, he now lives in Georgia with his wife Karen, the love of his life, his personal editor, and style consultant. When not drinking bourbon he likes to golf, read, and enjoy professional football and boxing (actually these are more often enjoyed while drinking bourbon). Having raised four successful children, he has a wealth of experience with drink.


  1. My cousin Diane told me about you whiskey. Valentine Tapley is our great, great, great uncle. We live in Florida now, but next time we go home to Missouri, we visit and have a taste.

  2. Thank you for reaching out, it sounds like you have connection with the story behind this product, that always seems to make it better. Let us know how you find it.

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