Sunday, July 9, 2017

Trader Joe's Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

VITALS:
- $15
- 90 Proof
- NAS
- Region: Kentucky

Sometimes I pick up a bottle purely out of curiosity. My wife made a Trader Joe's run the other day, and when she asked me if I wanted anything, I half-jokingly said, "Get me some Trader Joe's bourbon!"  To her credit, she looked for it, and for only $15.00, she couldn't find any reason not to grab a bottle.

The label doesn't tell you much about what's inside the bottle. There's no age statement, and it only states that it was distilled by Bourbon Square Distilling Company in Louisville. Some quick Googling tells me, however, that it's distilled by Buffalo Trace at the Barton 1792 distillery. Accordingly, I went in expecting Ten High, or something of that caliber.

I will say, while this is not a bourbon I'd recommend to neighbors and friends, nor is it likely something I'll keep stocked in my home bar, it wasn't that bad.

The nose is sweet, heavy on the brown sugar. However, it's complemented by baking spices, rounding out a nice, dessert-like scent. It does carry some alcohol on the nose, telling me it's not going to be a "smooth" pour, but that was really to be expected.

The bourbon is watery in texture, but still provides a lot of that brown sugar that I found on the nose. It's a sweet bourbon with some rough edges and bitterness, but other flavors were able to come through as well. It came across as a bit nutty, like a walnut flavor, again, going decently with the brown sugar.

Interestingly, I also noticed light smokiness, which made this one stand out from other bourbons in this price range. That smokey, nutty and sweet combination could be decent if aged longer. In the end, though, it's a younger bourbon, certainly not aged much more than 4 years, and the watery texture and alcohol flavor puts this bourbon right where it belongs--among all the other bottom shelf bourbons that are best-suited to be mixed with Coke.

As stated above, I won't be stocking my bar with Trader Joe's Bourbon any time soon, but it was fun to try, especially at a price where there's pretty much no risk. In the end, it all comes down to . . . it wasn't that bad.

Grade: C+

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