Tarnished Truth 3 Year High Rye Bourbon Review Header

Tarnished Truth 3 Year Old High Rye Straight Bourbon Whiskey Review

In Bourbon Whiskey Reviews by Lee Stang4 Comments

Tarnished Truth is deeply rooted in Virginia’s history as the birthplace of the American made spirit. Harkening back to the golden era of the roaring 20s and paying homage to bourbon whiskey’s roots in the great American south, Tarnished Truth offers finely made bourbons.
– Tarnished Truth Distilling Company
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  • DISTILLER:  Tarnished Truth Distilling Company (Sourced from MGP)
  • MASH BILL: 60% Corn | 36% Rye | 4% Malted Barley
  • AGE: 3 Years.
  • YEAR: 2018
  • PROOF: 86 (43% ABV)
  • MSRP: $63.99
  • BUY ONLINE:  Available in Virginia ABC Stores and at the Distillery. Not available online.

NOSE: Butterscotch | Corn | Hints of Cherries and Chocolate

TASTE: Toasted Oak | Caramel | Pepper

FINISH: A very short kick of spice. The finish is short, disappearing quickly.

SHARE WITH: I would share this with bourbon lovers who want to try the latest craft release.

WORTH THE PRICE: At $63.39, the price is steep for a young MGP blend.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Presently this bourbon is only available in Virginia ABC stores, and at the distillery. Starting to roll out to bars in Virginia. I would suggest trying before buying.

OVERALL: Tarnished Truth is a new distillery that opened in March 2018. It is located in the Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach, Virginia. According to their press, they are the only distillery located in a hotel and the hotel features their products. They are presently distilling and aging their own bourbon but in the meantime they have sourced bourbon from MGP in Indiana under the watchful eye of Larry Ebersold, a master distiller who worked for Seagram’s (currently MGP) for more than 35 years.

This is a blend of MGP bourbons that has a three year old age statement. According to the distillery there is nothing older in the blend. The bottle presentation is very sharp. It is a great looking bottle. The bourbon however, is young and average at best. It took me quite a while with my first pour to really pick any notes on the nose or palate. After a little airing though some hints of cherries and chocolate did come through on the nose. The finish is short. This bourbon just did not do the trick for me.

As I sipped on this bourbon, I thought about what other MGP bourbons I might have in my cabinet and realized I still have an open bottle of Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 bourbon. It has the same mash bill as this Tarnished Truth Bourbon. Unfortunately the comparison ends there. I am a huge fan of Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 year bourbon. The Tarnished Truth is ok but not nearly in the same class. Most likely this can be attributed to the age, but blending and water could also play a part.

That being said, Tarnished Truth also bottles a 9 year old single barrel bourbon that is also sourced from MGP. I am very interested in tasting this one as well. It is being sold at the distillery and in Washington, DC according to Tarnished Truth. I will be visiting Virginia Beach soon. Will have to stop by.

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

Disclaimer: Tarnished Truth 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
Lee Stang

Lee Stang


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.


  1. Avatar

    $64 for a low proof 3 yr old sourced whiskey?! Really? And this has become normal! Bourbon has definitely jumped the shark. Fancy packaging and a high price tag can’t make up for underaged spirit. Like lipstick on a pig. While age does not automatically equal quality, there is a reason why standard bottom shelf flagship expressions like Jack and Jim have traditionally been aged for at least 4 years. The rush to try to cash in on the bourbon boom has produced a now widespread “craft” movement that is doing a disservice to the overall standard of quality and historic legacy of America’s Native Spirit.

  2. Avatar

    Copper Fox Distillery in Williamsburg is also in a hotel (well, motel) space. Decent, but young American Single Malts mostly.

  3. Avatar

    Interesting write up I will be checking this distillery out soon. I am interested in the 9 year bottle for sure. Have not purchased the current bottle available at ABC due to the price and it being a newer product. This topic hits lightly on a current blog post I am working on and will post next week. The bottle does look nice and the marketing is spot on. Placing this in the old cavalier was a good move since there is a lot of history there. There are several “pop ups” in the Hampton Roads area of late the price points are all pretty high and not heard great things. Will eventually check them all out for myself to see!

    1. Lee Stang

      I talked to someone who went to the distillery and tried their 9 year bourbon. He told me he liked the 3 year better. I believe the 9 year bourbon goes for $115.

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