Monday, July 13, 2020

Clark & Sheffield Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon

VITALS:
- $12
- 90 Proof
- NAS
- Kentucky

Whenever stores have their house brands, I tend to be skeptical. While it's probably exactly the same as some name brand, you just never know, and for whatever reason they're often associated with lesser value (possibly due to lesser price). For larger liquor chains, it's nothing new to have a house brand whiskey. Liquor Barn in Kentucky has Flatboat, and not to long ago Binny's released the Clark & Sheffield lineup. 

For a long time I passed on trying any of these bourbons (whether the small batch or single barrel), and it wasn't just because I'm a White Sox fan, even though technically the name doesn't have anything to do with the Cubs. The idea of a house brand just didn't appeal to me, and quite frankly I hadn't heard much about the bourbon inside one way or the other. It doesn't help that very little information is provided as to where the bourbon is coming from.  However, when it went on sale for a mere $12 (normally $22), I had to pick one up. At that point, what did I have to lose?

The nose was soft, and quite frankly nothing too special. I got primarily notes of wood and caramel, though even those notes were hard to detect. The wood notes were more along the lines of wood shavings or saw dust. I also got a little bit of unsweetened vanilla, and there was the slightest hint of spice, like a black pepper note that provided just a touch of bite.

As to flavor, it certainly tasted better than it smelled. I got a lot of sweet and soft caramel, reminiscent of the kind of hot caramel syrup you'd put on an ice cream sundae.  Along those same lines, I also got a light milk chocolate note as well as a decent amount of sweet vanilla. It came across more dessert-like than I expected from the nose.

It did have that light wood note to it, and again, it came across as a sort of saw dust note, like that flavor you taste in the air when working with a table saw.  It also had a bit of a crackery note, like saltines. But, it was the caramel and vanilla that dominated the flavor here.

On later pours I got more of a burnt sugar note, and there was even an added touch of char. I was a bit surprised by this, as I assume this is a relatively young bourbon. It also came across as a bit more grain forward, with corn notes becoming a bit more pervasive.

All in all, this bourbon was okay. It was a great bourbon for when I wanted to have multiple pours and not get seriously banged up, and it was surprisingly sweeter than it's nose indicated. In the end, for the $12 I paid (granted it was on sale), this was easily worth it.  I don't know where I draw the line in the sand as far as at what price do I look for other options. But luckily I don't have to worry about that.

Grade: B

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