“WE GUARANTEE QUALITY, SO EVERY BATCH OF FIRE DEPARTMENT COFFEE IS FRESHLY ROASTED, AND WEARE DEDICATED TO HELPING OUR HEROES WITH EVERY CUP.”
JIM'S DESERT ISLAND WHISKEYS
Black Cherry Bourbon Infused CoffeeBOTTLE 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 | Chocolate | Hint of Bourbon
TASTE: Chocolate Covered Cherries | Hint of Bourbon
FINISH: The finish is a little thin with hints of cherries, chocolate and bourbon.
SHARE WITH: Anyone who likes to try different coffees or likes flavored coffees with a cherry twist.
WORTH THE PRICE: $20 for a 12 ounce bag of coffee is a little on the high side but this is like craft bourbon, made in small batches and a limited release.
BAG, BARISTA OR BUST: I would want to try this at a coffee house if at all possible. However, this is one of the better bourbon infused coffees I have tried. If you are a fan of medium roast and flavored coffees you might want to give a bag a try.
OVERALL: Right up front, I am a big fan of dark roast and typically don’t drink a medium roast. In addition, I am not a huge fan of flavored coffees. At home I brew my coffee with a Techniworm, Mocca Master Drip coffee Maker and use whole beans ground in a Brim Grinder. That is how I tried this Fire Dept Coffee (FDC). While the company suggests using a French Press, I have not found them to work any better than my daily setup.
As I said I am not a big fan of flavored coffees, but this coffee was a little different. According to FDC the bourbon is infused into the green coffee beans and then roasted. They also stated that the flavor is also already in the bourbon, so we are talking about a black cherry flavored ‘bourbon” here. The company would not disclose what “bourbon” is used.
FDC stated that they use high-quality coffee beans from around the world. Also, they said that before they begin the roasting process, all beans go through a strict testing and evaluation process. This includes making sure the farms are environmentally and socially responsible. The coffee trader that is utilized to source the beans from is very reputable and ensures that the farmers are paid fairly.
The coffee in the bag and after grinding has a great nose with the bourbon and cherry definitely coming through. Also after brewing, the smell of the bourbon and cherry was in the air. In the cup however the nose was not very strong, and the mouth feel was somewhat thin. The bourbon and cherry notes were there but somewhat muted. However, in the past the flavored coffees I have tasted tend to be overwhelming in the flavoring and not something that I particularly like.
Since I am a dark roast fan, I purchased a bag of the Fire Department Coffee Dark Roast. This one had an incredible nose of cocoa and coffee bean with a rich mouthfeel. Great taste. I can’t say it quite tastes as good as my usual go to dark roasts but it is close. At $14.99 for a 14-ounce bag it is slightly more than the $10.50 I pay for 14 ounces of my usual dark roast but I believe I will keep a bag of this in the house.
Note that FDC sells a number of different coffees including different spirits-infused coffees including Bourbon, Irish, Canadian and Cinnamon Flavored whiskey, Rum and Tequila.
Fire Dept Coffee is a veteran owned business and run by firefighters. FDC created the Fire Department Coffee Foundation and ten percent of net proceeds go to organizations that support firefighters and other first responders who are injured on job.
Please see the video at this link if you are interested in the small batch roasting process.
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.
Jim Knudsen has lived in every region of the United States, traveled the world, and always enjoyed spirits along the way. While he has sampled local spirits in 50 countries on 6 continents, he always comes home to bourbon. Jim is an accomplished global sales and marketing executive, with a degree in Physics from Michigan State University and an MBA from Baldwin-Wallace College. Growing up in Michigan, in a household rich with the experience of enjoying drink. He now lives in Georgia with his wife Karen, the love of his life, his personal editor, and style consultant. When not drinking bourbon he likes to golf, reading, and enjoys professional football and boxing. Actually, these are more often enjoyed while drinking bourbon. His four great kids, with families of their own, have blessed him with 6 grandchildren. While coming to bourbon late in life, he is working diligently to catch up.
Read Jim's full profile.