W. H. Harrison Governor’s Reserve Bourbon Review

In Bourbon Whiskey Reviews by Patrick "Pops" Garrett6 Comments

Let’s play a quick round of word association. When I say, “William Henry Harrison” what immediately comes to your mind?

  • President of the United States?
  • Governor of the Indiana Territory?
  • General?
  • Congressman?
  • Namesake of the first modern-day bourbon out of Indiana?

Bet you didn’t know that last one, did you?

Be honest. If you hadn’t read the title of this review odds are you wouldn’t have known that W. H. Harrison Governor’s Reserve barrel proof bourbon was the first modern-day bourbon to come from Indiana. 

W. H. Harrison Governor’s Reserve bourbon is distilled by Tipton Spirits which was founded by several experienced industry execs who have worked for a few small firms you might have heard of like Diageo, Gallo, Jim Beam and Miller. At this time they’ve produced two distinct bourbon releases. One is their Straight Bourbon at 80 proof and the other is our featured bourbon, Governor’s Reserve barrel proof at 114 proof.

W. H. Harrison Governor's Reserve Bourbon

Here’s what their website has to say:

W. H. Harrison Governor’s Reserve celebrates the rare balance of boldness and smoothness required in a great leader, and great Bourbon.

Our unique “high-rye” recipe, bottled at Barrel Proof, makes a bold statement upfront but finishes smooth with layers of subtlety.

Best enjoyed on the rocks

 Taste Profile: bold, robust upfront, spicy with layers of subtlety through the middle, and an elegant, smooth finish.


So what does Indiana’s first modern-day bourbon taste like?

I’ve been drinking it for the last few nights and I’m really enjoying it. I’m a huge barrel proof fan and there’s a lot to like in this one. It’s a bold, yet approachable bourbon, with a lovely rye flavor which I enjoy immensely.  This one is actually 3 bourbons in one.  You can drink it neat, with water or on the rocks.  And according to their website it makes a great additional to some traditional, and not so traditional, cocktails.  It’s definitely a bourbon that you should consider adding to your collection.

As always let me know in the comments what you think about my W. H. Harrison Governor’s Reserve bourbon review.

Bourbon Name: W. H. Harrison Governor’s Reserve Barrel Proof
Year: 2012 Batch #2
How I Drank It: Neat, in my special bourbon glass (please don’t be jealous)
My Nose Noticed:*

Spice | Maple Syrup (slight) | Cherry 

First Sip: Oak | Rye | Cherry
The Burn**: Slow and steady. Very enjoyable and stays right in the back of your throat without heading down south.  Lasts a few minutes and then its gone. Sort of like the perfect party guest. Entertaining and social yet knows when to make an exit.
Neat, Splash or Rocks: As always I started out my review drinking it neat. But I soon added some water and oh my, did it ever smooth this one out. I found the barrel strength approachable (for what it is) but adding water really did an amazing job of making this one drinkable.  It makes it a little sweeter but the great burn is still there along with some great flavors. The bottle recommends drinking it on the rocks. I’ve done that as well and found the changing flavors as a result of the ice melting a nice surprise each time I took a sip.
Share With: Share this one with your bourbon loving friends. You might just be the hero for introducing them to another great barrel proof bourbon.
Worth The Price: You should be able to pick this one up for about $55. As with a few other bourbons I’ve reviewed the price is high when you consider that this one is only 4 years old.  But once again I can tell you that age is not the best way to determine the price of a bourbon. (Old does not mean good or expensive by default.) For those of you that enjoy barrel proof bourbon this one is definitely worth the price. And for those of you who are looking to add a new bourbon to your collection I would also recommend investing in this one.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: Barrel proof lovers should definitely add this to their bar without question. I would also buy a bottle if you’re looking to add a bold and complex bourbon to your collection or even if you just like a good, well-rounded high-rye bourbon.

*I like to let my bourbon sit in the glass for at least 5 minutes before I start to smell it or have a drink. I personally find that it’s better to let some of the alcohol waft off before diving in. If I’m drinking bourbon on the rocks I skip the waiting and dive in both feet first.

**Some of you refer to this as the “finish” but let’s be honest. Don’t we all just want to know if it burns good?

If you’d like to keep up to date on what Tipton Spirits is up to these days you can follow them on social media:


Tipton Spirits on Facebook



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About the Author

Patrick "Pops" Garrett

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Patrick Garrett, "Pops" as he's known to his friends, is the founder of Bourbon & Banter, LLC and claims the title of Chief Drinking Officer (CDO). A long-time marketing professional and photographer, Pops hopes to use his professional experience and love of Bourbon to spread the Bourbon Gospel and help everyone realize the therapeutic power of having a good drink with friends.