Monday, September 4, 2017

Whiskey Acres Distiling Co. Bourbon

- $42
- 87 Proof
- at least 1 year old
- Illinois

DeKalb, Illinois is not exactly known for its rich history of bourbon distilling. Around me, anyway, it's known for Northern Illinois University, the closest college campus to go hunting for a kegger, and also for being surrounded by corn. On a recent trip to a small boutique store in Geneva, Illinois, however, my wife came across Whiskey Acres Bourbon. Knowing I hadn't tried this one and that I'd at least want to give it a shot, she picked up a bottle for me.

Now, going in, I knew this was not going to be the next Pappy. First, I had never heard of it. Second, it's only a one-year old bourbon--hardly enough time for any bourbon to mature, no matter who is making it. So, while I more than appreciated the thoughtfulness that went into buying this whiskey, I wasn't exactly calling all my friends to come over to give it a try.

Very much as expected, being such a young bourbon, it has both the smell and taste of over-ripe fruit, like apples that have been sitting on the counter for too long. I've noticed that this is a common flavor when a bourbon has not had the right amount of time in the barrel, and it's become a common flavor profile in bourbons bottled by new craft distilleries.

The flavor is a bit harsh. It has little to no sweetness (surprising since I understand it has a wheated mashbill), but is rather tart and bitter. In addition to the spoiled fruit flavor, there's a distinct coffee note. Not a good coffee flavor, though. More like "gas station right off the highway in the middle of Tennessee" bad coffee (yes, I know, that's not exactly relatable, but the flavor clearly brought back a bad memory).

On a more positive note, the back end provided a nice cinnamon note that stuck around the back of my throat for a while, and which I enjoyed after the other flavors faded away. The texture of the bourbon was actually nice and oily, coating the mouth and throat well, and allowing for that cinnamon to linger. This was particularly surprising given the proof and age.  Unfortunately, some of the less-desirable flavors also lingered around a bit.

In the end, this is a bourbon that clearly needs more time in the barrel to mature and interact with the wood and the sugars in the barrel. It's young and obviously so. The flavor and smell are both tough to get past, and I only drank this as a third pour for the night. In fact, my wife wouldn't even sit next to me while I drank it, she found the smell so offensive. I hope with time this bourbon improves, and after a few more years I'd be willing to try it again. Until then, though, this one is a pass for me.

Grade: C-

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