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Ragged Branch Distillery – Part 2

In Bourbon Whiskey Reviews, Distilleries by Lee StangLeave a Comment

Ragged Branch Distillery presently produces two types of bourbon. One is a wheat mash bill, and the other is a rye mash bill. The Master Distiller at Ragged Branch is Dave Pickerell, the former Master Distiller at Makers Mark. According to Founder and Managing Partner, Alex Toomy, both mash bills are about 65% corn, 15% barley, and the remaining 20% wheat or rye. The bourbon on the market and the ones that I tasted are slightly more than two years old. Starting in July of 2018, Ragged Branch will only be producing bourbon greater than four years old. Also, a cask strength bourbon, “The Cowboy Cut,” will be available soon. Please see Part I to read more about Ragged Branch Distillery.

Presently Ragged Branch Straight Virginia Bourbon is only available in the distillery tasting room, and it will be available in a total of 50 Virginia ABC stores beginning October 1, 2017. It is also finding its way into bars around Charlottesville. Plans are to move into Maryland, Delaware and Washington, DC in the very near future, as well as specific parts of Louisiana. In October, the Ragged Branch Rye Bourbon will be featured as a Virginia ABC Chairman’s Choice product.


Our process reflects our mission to create truly excellent Virginia straight bourbon whiskey without short-cuts and with an eye to responsible land use.Ragged Branch Distillery
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Ragged Branch Wheat Bourbon


  • DISTILLER: Ragged Branch Distillery
  • MASH BILL: 65% Corn  |  20% Wheat  |  15% Barley
  • AGE: 2 Years 1 Month
  • YEAR: 2017
  • PROOF: 90 (45% ABV)
  • MSRP: $48.99
NOSE: Starts with corn and oak and then evolves into brown sugar and vanilla.

TASTE: A medium mouthfeel starts with brown sugar and corn then spices and pie dough. A hint of apple pie.

FINISH: Starts with a surprising spice on the back of the tongue and a nice warming going down. A hint of brown sugar remaining on the palate.

NEAT, SPLASH OR ROCKS: A splash of water dulled the corn on the nose and enhanced the sugar. Surprisingly it appeared to improve the spiciness on the tongue.

SHARE WITH: Bourbon drinkers who want to try something new and appreciate that a craft distillery can produce a good bourbon at a young age.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: If you find yourself in Charlottesville, VA, visit the distillery for the beauty and the experience. Distribution is just starting, so it is only beginning to show up. For the price, a bottle is worth a try.

OVERALL: This is a young bourbon with only a hint of youth. A beautiful color and pleasant taste. A splash of water brings out a little more sugar and spice, and it is delightful on the rocks. Also while I was at the distillery, I was able to taste several cocktails. This bourbon is excellent in cocktails. It is very much worth a try.

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

Ragged Branch Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a passion for us.  We use only locally sourced, sustainable crops to craft our authentic style Bourbon Whiskey.  Currently, we offer two Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskeys, a wheat based bourbon and a rye based bourbon, but more is on the way. Our cask strength “Cowboy Cut” is coming soon and our Straight Rye Whiskey is currently aging in the rickhouse.  In addition to spirits, we also offer Ragged Branch Bourbon Beef.

NOSE: Robust corn on the nose with oak, light floral notes with a hint of buttery brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

TASTE: Vanilla and caramel with strong cinnamon on the front. The flavors build on the tongue, hitting all ones taste buds – finishing long, leaving one craving another taste. After adding a spoonful of water, the nose opens the oaky cinnamon aroma. The water brings out a very pleasant almond vanilla, finishing smoothly and with a fresh taste of cinnamon and the grains from which it was made.





Each bottle of Ragged Branch Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey was painstakingly distilled and patiently aged at Ragged Branch. This commitment to tradition, patience, excellence, and locality is reflected in the smooth, full flavor of Ragged Branch Straight Bourbon Whiskey.Ragged Branch Distillery
Click to explore our complete library of reviews to help you choose your next perfect bottle.

Ragged Branch Rye Bourbon


  • DISTILLER: Ragged Branch Distillery
  • MASH BILL: 65% Corn  |  20% Rye  |  15% Barley
  • AGE: 2 Years 3 Months
  • YEAR: 2017
  • PROOF: 90 (45% ABV)
  • MSRP: $48.99
NOSE: A young bourbon nose. Corn and oak. However after the first nosing, dark cherries and vanilla filter through. The cherries somewhat surprising to me.

TASTE: A nice spice right from the beginning with vanilla and a hint of cherries following.

FINISH: A very nice burn with a spicy sweetness remaining on the tongue.

NEAT, SPLASH OR ROCKS: A splash of water dulled the corn on the nose and enhanced the sugar. Surprisingly it appeared to improve the spiciness on the tongue.

SHARE WITH: Bourbon drinkers who want to try something new and appreciate that a craft distillery can produce a good bourbon at a young age.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: As with the wheat bourbon, visit the distillery if you are in Charlottesville. Distribution is just starting so it is just starting to show up. For the price, a bottle is worth a try.

OVERALL: This too is a young bourbon with only a hint of a youth. A beautiful color and nice taste. Ragged Branch started out to only make a wheat bourbon and decided to make the rye based bourbon because of a request by one of the staff. I believe as this bourbon gets more age it is going to be very, very good. I have tasted several young bourbons that were slightly older than these at Ragged Branch, some even made in consultation with Dave Pickerell. These bourbons are far better than other craft bourbons I have tasted.  This one is very much worth a try. I can’t wait for the four year versions.

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

Ragged Branch Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a passion for us.  We use only locally sourced, sustainable crops to craft our authentic style Bourbon Whiskey.  Currently, we offer two Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskeys, a wheat based bourbon and a rye based bourbon, but more is on the way. Our cask strength “Cowboy Cut” is coming soon and our Straight Rye Whiskey is currently aging in the rickhouse.  In addition to spirits, we also offer Ragged Branch Bourbon Beef.

NOSE: Robust grain aroma, spicy rye, vanilla marzipan, and a scent of smoking wild cherry wood.

TASTE: Tickles the tongue with spicy rye and vanilla tones. Finishes smoothly and sweetly. After adding a spoonful of water, the fragrance of a sweet tobacco comes through and opens the palate to a softer spice, leaving a pleasant flavor of caramel corn. This Rye Bourbon is excellent in cocktails, accentuating flavors of all cocktail ingredients.

Ragged Branch Distillery Background Info




About the Author

Lee Stang

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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.