My boys and I look forward to working together to release our Cask Strength whiskey to bookend each year—it’s our family tradition that lets us both reflect on and celebrate our growth.
JIM'S DESERT ISLAND WHISKEYS
Noah's Mill BourbonBOTTLE 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: Oak | Orange Peel | Walnut | Burnt Sugar | Alcohol | Tobacco
TASTE: Toffee | Cinnamon | Roasted Pecans | Light Spice | Acidic | Vanilla
FINISH: Neat, there’s a solid burn throughout, but not unpleasant, especially for the proof with great toffee/dark caramel. Adding water, the sweeter elements come out more, with oak showing more with water. There’s an underlying fall spice that shows in the finish. And the finish is long and very pleasant, with notes of roasted nuts.
SHARE WITH: Experienced bourbon drinkers that like a complex bourbon with spice. This proof is a bit too hot for newer bourbon fans unless water is added.
WORTH THE PRICE: At $49.99, this is definitely worth the price.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Willett whiskeys can be hard to find; if you find a bottle, bottle. If you can’t, find a whiskey bar that carries it.
OVERALL: Willett distills its own whiskeys but also sources others. This is sourced from other distilleries in Kentucky, the mash bill is not disclosed, and the age statement that was once on it was removed (it used to be a 15 year old whiskey). The acidic element diminishes with water, and the sweeter elements come up. Too much water, and, like most bourbons, it flattens out a bit, so experimenting with the right amount of water for your taste is important.
The bottling is a bit unique: it looks more like a wine bottle, with an old-fashioned label. It’s called a “genuine bourbon”, but it actually qualifies as a straight bourbon. Willett is a great distillery, being small and family-run, and they put out excellent bourbons. For its price, Noah’s Mill stands up to just about any bourbon in its range.
Curt has a love for things that taste good, starting in barbecue competitions, then moving to teaching cooking classes, writing a food blog and writing for national grilling-related companies, and, currently, as a regular on a local news show in SW Ohio doing food segments (for which he’s become known for his use of bourbon in food). In fact, when interviewed about his top five cooking ingredients, bourbon was included in that list.
Curt’s love of whisky goes back years, but, more recently, his wife encouraged him to have more than one partially filled bottle of Lagavulin by buying an Ardbeg for him for Christmas, then letting him add more and more to his collection. Now amassing a pretty nice little group of Scotch, bourbon, and ryes (and a few other whiskeys here and there), Curt enjoys his whiskey mostly with nothing but a couple drops of water (but is fine with a whiskey cocktail now and then, too). Curt’s feeling is that you don’t have to like the same whisky he likes, but he hopes you enjoy yours as much as he’s enjoying whichever is currently in his glass.
Read Curt's full profile.