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KO Distiller’s Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey Review

In Bourbon Whiskey Reviews by Lee StangLeave a Comment

KO Distiller's Reserve BIB Whiskey Bottle Photo
Four centuries ago, the first American whiskey was distilled in Virginia. A new industry was launched and endured against unfathomable odds. That spirit of perseverance, distilled through 400 years of craft, is proudly presented today as our 100 Proof Distiller’s Reserve Bottled-in-Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey by KO Distilling. 
KO Distilling

JIM'S DESERT ISLAND WHISKEYS

KO DISTILLING DISTILLER’S RESERVE BOTTLED IN BOND STRAIGHT BOURBON WHISKEY

BOTTLE DETAILS

NOSE: Caramel  |  Corn  |  Spiced Cherries  |  Toasted Oak

TASTE: Rye Spice  |  Oak  |  Faint Sweet Honey  |  Green Apple

FINISH: Medium with lingering sweetness and some grain

SHARE WITH: While young, this is a blend to share with your “drink curious” not too judgy friends.

WORTH THE PRICE: I found Ingram an interesting expression. I am generally a Midwest Grain Products fan, and I like to support craft distillers/blenders with innovative ideas. With all that being said, at over $70 for a less than 4-year-old, sourced, blended whiskey, this would be a tough sell for me.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: This whiskey is not a bust. It has interest and depth that you wouldn’t expect by its age. The blending is done well and with the innovative take on aging, I will give it a BAR rating. Try it first, if you can, before you buy. In the fifty dollar range, I would be tempted to go bottle.

OVERALL: O. H. Ingram River Aged Straight Whiskey, I found interesting whiskey. Aged in a floating “rickhouse” at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, in Ballard County, Kentucky. The theory being the gentle rocking of the barrels enhances the aging process. This process has its roots in the river transport of barreled distillate from Bourbon County delivered to New Orleans, with the transformed taste that apocryphally led to our native spirit. Does it make a difference? I have no idea, but there are a lot of people putting barrels on ocean voyages, riverboats, playing music to them, and even aging in cranberry bogs.

I have an issue with brands using invented or unrelated stories to support the “marketing” of their spirits. I don’t see that as an issue with O.H. Ingram. They have family history tied to the river and actually age on floating barges. They don’t hide the source, age, or mash bills of their product. Starting from typically quality rye and bourbon distillate from MGP in Indiana, aging for over three years and blended well, has produced a straight whiskey. It has a surprising depth for a young age. I found it drinkable neat, better with ice, but not particularly suitable for cocktails. My only issue with this product is the price, which is high for what it is. Understanding that the cost of sourcing and barreling probably drives this cost. If you find it in a bar, or you have the resource and drinking curiosity, I would not dissuade you from giving this one a try.

NOSE: Cherry Vanilla | Pepper | Hint of Young Oak | Hint of Tobacco

TASTE: Vanilla | Pepper | Hint of young corn

FINISH: A burst of vanilla followed by a mouth coating of tobacco and a building of spice. The spice lingers for quite a while in a good way providing a long finish.

SHARE WITH: Anyone who likes bourbon. Also wheated bourbon lovers, those into Bottled in Bond bourbons and those who are interested in craft whiskey.

WORTH THE PRICE: $70 for a four year old bourbon is pushing the envelope so I am on the fence on this. I found this quite enjoyable and interesting though and would consider buying a bottle.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: At this price I would suggest trying this at a bar or at the distillery. However, I am willing to bet that if you try this at the distillery you will most likely take a bottle home with you.

OVERALL: This was a pleasant surprise. I have had the opportunity to try a number of KO Distilling whiskies including their Cask Strength Offerings at 120 proof and at least 3 years in age. I found them very hot and a good bit of youth showing through. The Distiller’s Reserve is a different story however. The sample I tried was 52 months. A wheated bourbon that is Non Chill Filtered. I would get a slight hint of youth every now and again but overall, this was a very enjoyable bourbon. Soft and sweet going in with a good bit of spice at the end for a wheated bourbon. I have in my collection a 4-year-old Bottled in Bond wheated bourbon from a craft distillery in Kentucky that many people are raving about and I can say that I liked this KO bourbon a lot more.

I must admit that even though I live less than 40 minutes from the distillery, I have not had the opportunity to visit there. After tasting some of their products back in November 2019 at a whiskey fest type event at Mt. Vernon, I was looking into a trip to the distillery but unfortunately 2020 closed upon us before I was able to get there. I certainly will rectify that issue in the near future. The Distiller’s Reserve is a nice addition to the KO lineup. A big step forward in my mind.


Bourbon Flavor Wheel & Tasting Mats

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Disclaimer: KO Distilling 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
Sr. Contributor |

Lee’s bourbon journey started with one mistaken gulp of bourbon and coke as an eight-year-old. While bourbon was always part of his life, Lee followed a beer, wine path for the most part until a bartender poured him a taste of Buffalo Trace about ten years ago. It was at that point Lee’s love of bourbon really took off. Not only does Lee enjoy a good pour of bourbon but he is more than willing and excited to talk about it. Lee believes that bourbon, and for that matter all spirits, is enhanced by the experience of good company, good conversation and good bars. The combination leads to great stories. Say hi to him when you see him. Lee lives in Leesburg, VA, with his wife, best friend, and drinking partner, Patti. You might find her having a bourbon as well. Both Lee and Patti like to read mystery thrillers and travel. Most likely the travel leads to visits to new bars. Read Lee's full profile.

About the Author
Lee Stang

Lee Stang

Twitter

Lee’s bourbon journey started with one mistaken gulp of bourbon and coke as an eight-year-old. While bourbon was always part of his life, Lee followed a beer, wine path for the most part until a bartender poured him a taste of Buffalo Trace about ten years ago. It was at that point Lee’s love of bourbon really took off. Not only does Lee enjoy a good pour of bourbon but he is more than willing and excited to talk about it. Lee believes that bourbon, and for that matter all spirits, is enhanced by the experience of good company, good conversation and good bars. The combination leads to great stories. Say hi to him when you see him. Lee lives in Leesburg, VA, with his wife, best friend, and drinking partner, Patti. You might find her having a bourbon as well. Both Lee and Patti like to read mystery thrillers and travel. Most likely the travel leads to visits to new bars. Read Lee's full profile.