Cleveland Bourbon Whiskey Photo

Cleveland Bourbon Review

In Bourbon Whiskey Reviews by 5 Comments


Our process allows us to create unique finishes with woods that include black cherry and apple, limited runs of coffee infusions plus local craft beer and maple syrup barrel aged bourbons.Cleveland Whiskey
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Cleveland Bourbon


NOSE: Cedar | Citrus | Acetone

TASTE:Honey | Strong Wood | Pepper | Acetone

FINISH: Good god! This has a rough punchy aftertaste that grabs on to your throat and won’t let go. There are some barely discernable bourbon flavors, even a sweetness, that are present for just about half a second before the harsh taste of wood and a chemical burn hit you. Even several moments after swallowing the aftertaste sits on your tongue like an obnoxious party guest that just won’t leave.

SHARE WITH: Clevelanders so committed to buying local that they are willing to sacrifice real bourbon.

WORTH THE PRICE: At $35 a bottle, this is so not worth the price. For less than half that price you can buy a bottle of Very Old Barton and be much more satisfied.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST:I think it will come as no surprise that this is a bust. Bottom line is that despite the claims of its makers, Cleveland tastes forced and very rough around the edges. Try it at a bar to appease your curiosity if you must but don’t make the mistake of buying a whole bottle. Word has it that the bottles are selling well in the Cleveland area but I am willing to bet that the biggest market for Cleveland Bourbon will end up being overseas.

NEAT, SPLASH OR ROCKS: With a burn like that I though trying it over ice would have to be an improvement. I poured it over my whiskey ice ball and the ice actually made it worse. The burning was less but the ice also took with it all of the more pleasant bourbon flavors. The only thing it left behind was the wood pulp flavor. A splash of chilled water proved to be the most palatable way to drink it. That splash allowed some more delicate notes, rose and a bit more lemon flavor, to come through while taming the worst of the aftertaste. That was the first time that I thought this might be able to be used in a cocktail if nothing else.

Learn more about Ginny's whiskey preferences and check out more of his reviews…

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PS – Pops here folks. I think Ginny really hit this one on the head folks. I tried my sample last night. It was so bad I had to pour it out after only 3 or 4 sips. I really tried to give it a chance but it was pretty bad in my book. Let’s just say there’s no cheating the time required by Mother Nature to age bourbon the right way.


About the Author

Ginny Tonic

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Although Ginny was a late bloomer to the world of drinking she likes to think she’s making up for lost time. She had my first manhattan at the age of 24 and fell in love. Finally, there was a drink she felt cool ordering and actually liked the taste of. Bourbon is her drink of choice and where she geeks out the most, but she honestly enjoys all aspects of drinking. The way it brings people together, the way it combines art, science, and culture, the way a nice drink at the end of the day can make the world seem so much better than it did a few minutes before. When she’s not writing for Bourbon & Banter, she writes for Queen City Drinks and co-hosts two podcasts: an hour long culture podcast called The Charlie Tonic Hour and a shorter all alcohol show called Bottoms Up. She is also the owner and lead guide for Tonic Tours, where they offer small group alcohol-based tours that focus on craft producers as well as hosting classes, tasting and other events.

  • […] Next up is Cleveland Bourbon Whiskey. From what we could gather, the process is as follows: The whiskey distillate is aged normally in a new charred oak barrel for around 6 months, such that it meets the minimum legal requirements to be called bourbon. At this point, the barrel is chopped up and placed into a proprietary pressure tank along with the now ~6-month-aged bourbon. This tank is then cycled over high and low pressures to force the whiskey in and out of the barrel fragments. There is an additional aspect of “oxygenation,” for which we couldn’t find any details. The company claims that this cycling creates a product that tastes significantly older than its real age of just over 6 months. As for how it tastes, we have not tried it yet, so we can’t say. Our fellow Bourbon media friend Ginny Tonic has, and you can check out her review here. […]

  • […] Wes Henderson and learned to understand what real bourbon problems are. I even willingly drank Cleveland Whiskey. All of those changes led to the biggest change of all. Three and half years later I am now […]

  • Joe Wein says:

    I totally disagree with this review. I don’t like the idea of how this bourbon is made but definitley like it better than Knob Creek. Sweet and robust. Raw grain, sweet corn, a hint of honey or maybe chocolate. Lively, but doesn’t taste underraged – which is pretty crazy considering. There’s a touch of ethanol as well, but not much. Medium finish with a bit of pop and lingering spice. All around enjoyable.

  • paul white says:

    I don’t agree with the review either. I think it is better than Knob Creek as well and think the $35 price tag just about right for a good bourbon.