Let’s get one thing straight: I love Buffalo Trace.
I love just about all its brands, from the workaday Ancient Age (and its criminally underappreciated older brother, Ancient Ancient Age) to that genteel old man, George T. Stagg. I love its cousins at other Sazerac-owned distilleries, like John J. Bowman or 1792 Ridgemont Reserve.
But more than the expressions themselves, I love the distillery’s willingness to try new things – from the E.H. Taylor suite to the Single Oak Project to the Experimental Collection, this is an outfit that’s not afraid to venture forth, even when it could rest comfortably on the success of its core portfolio. Continue reading “Is There a Holy Grail of Bourbon?” »
MGP is the biggest name in whiskey you’ve never heard of. In 2011 the Atchison, Kansas-based company acquired Lawrenceburg Distilers Indiana, the largest producer of sourced whiskey in the country. In fact, LDI/MGP doesn’t have any brands of its own; instead, it makes whiskey for a host of famous, allegedly distinct brands. The company is understandably secretive about its client list, but known buyers from LDI/MGP include Templeton, Old Scout, Bulleit Rye, Big Bottom — the parade goes on.
One way to know a whiskey is from LDI/MGP is if the label says “made in Indiana” (probably in the tiniest type possible). There’s only one distillery in the state. Another way is the ingredients: the distillery makes some distinctive mashbills, like a 95 percent rye, and if that’s what appears on the label, chances are the stuff inside came from LDI/MGP. Continue reading “MGP: The Kudzu of Whiskey” »
Made by the Brooklyn chocolatier Cacao Prieto, Widow Jane is technically a sourced whiskey, which the company then cuts to proof with water from an upstate New York mine. The mine, the pseudonymous Widow Jane, was one of many sources for the millions of tons of limestone that went into building modern New York City. Limestone is, of course, a central feature in Kentucky whiskey; distillers claim that water drawn from limestone-filtered springs is softer and friendlier to yeast. According to the Widow Jane Web site, upstate New York “possesses an even higher ratio of beneficial minerals than that found in Kentucky and its sparkling waters are as pure as its namesake.” Ergo, Widow Jane is Kentucky whiskey, super-sized.
This is a dubious claim. Obviously the quality of the water used to cut a whiskey to proof is important. But I’m not sure it’s important that it be limestone filtered. The advantages to limestone come primarily in the early stages of the distilling process, not just before it goes into the bottle. Continue reading “Just Sampled: Widow Jane 5-Year Bourbon” »