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Defiance Whiskey High-Rye Bourbon Review

In Bourbon Whiskey Reviews by Kyle GeorgeLeave a Comment

While visiting with Bourbon and Banter’s Chief Drinking Officer (CDO) he handed me a small bottle of an unknown product and asked me to sample it without knowing what it was.  I had never been given the opportunity to try something completely blind, but I found the experience to be very enjoyable.  I am delighted that our CDO gave me this opportunity and it has introduced me to a new product I enjoy.

After trying the bourbon, I was impressed by the super smooth taste and amazing finish.  My entire palate was coated with the warmth of vanilla, caramel, and rye.  After I was informed of which whiskey I was sampling I was even more intrigued.  I had seen the bottle on the shelf many times but had passed it over and chose to purchase other things.  The most surprising characteristic of this bourbon is its 18 month age statement.  The flavor and smoothness that was infused in just 18 months of barrel-aging is very impressive.

After I was able to sample this bourbon and was told what I had been sampling, I had the opportunity to speak with Daniel Fort, owner of Defiance Whiskey.  Daniel came up with the name Defiance Whiskey years before the whiskey started being produced.  Daniel decided to team up with MGP to create a spirit that he felt fit the Defiance name.  Daniel chose to use MGP because “it is hard to deny so many years of experience that MGP brings to the table.”  The partnership allows Daniel to focus on the blending and finishing, rather than worrying about the distillation process. After all “there is so much you can screw up between the barrel and the bottle.” Daniel said.

Daniel states that the goal for Defiance Whiskey is to be as open and direct about the product as possible, so the consumer knows exactly what they are purchasing and consuming.  Defiance Whiskey comes in a clear glass bottle with a glass stopper that was also designed with transparency in mind.  The clear label and clear bottle show the consumer exactly what they are getting in each bottle:  clear, amber bourbon.

Defiance Whiskey is based in St. Genevieve, MO and tries to stay as true to their Missouri roots as possible.  While the spirit may be produced and distilled out of the Show Me State, the barrels, bottles and final product are all created in Missouri.  Daniel has consulted with many people from around the world to help design and produce the product; he says, “Whiskey making is a team sport.”

Defiance Whiskey has received national recognition.  It won a bronze medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a silver medal at the American Craft Spirits Association event in Austin, Texas. It has also won a silver medal at American Distilling Institute and a silver medal at International World Spirits Competition in London.

Defiance Whiskey High-Rye Bourbon Review

Name: Defiance Whiskey High-Rye Bourbon

Proof: 90 proof / 45% ABV

Age: 18 months

Year: 2016

How I Drank It: For my sampling, I always use a Glencairn Glass.

Nose: Toasted Oak | Vanilla | Tobacco |Rye | Honey/Caramel. Once I added couple drops of water the caramel really stood out. Really has a wonderful bouquet to it.

Taste: First sip was smooth, sweet on the front and heat in the middle. The rye is present but not overpowering in spice, allowing the vanilla and caramel notes to come through still. The finish was beautiful and clean. The notes lingered in your mouth (for me a characteristic of a good sipping whiskey.) After the splash of water, the heat on the front was gone and milder in the middle. It was really balanced after the splash of water. On the rocks, the burn was totally gone but it also muted the complexity and flavor of the whiskey.

Neat, Splash or Rocks: I would have to go with a “splash of water.” After the splash, the whiskey really opened up and was very enjoyable.

Share With: I would share this with any whiskey drinker. Great all around bourbon, great feel in the mouth for those who love it neat and great in a Manhattan. I think the thing people will really love is the lingering taste.

Worth The Price: Around $30 a bottle and definitely worth the price.

Bottle, Bar or Bust: Definitely Bottle. A well rounded bourbon that is great for drinking on the rocks or mixing a drink. Since the time of the original blind tasting, I have picked up a bottle to share at family outings and with friends. A lot of great drinks were consumed from this bottle.


About the Author
Kyle George

Kyle George


Kyle was born in St. Louis and has lived in the Midwest his entire life. His father introduced him to bourbon when he was 21 years old, and has been enjoying it ever since. Kyle has completed the Kentucky Bourbon Trail on three different occasions, and cannot wait for the opportunity to return. He shares his love of bourbon with his wife, Emily, who traveled the bourbon trail with him for their first wedding anniversary in 2011. He enjoys comparing bourbons from different distilleries and different areas of the country and enjoys sharing a glass with friends and family. Currently, he spends the majority of his time caring for his two young sons but manages to share his love of bourbon with them as well. His four year old frequently says, "When I'm older, I'm going to drink wine and bourbon."

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