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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sipp’n Corn Bourbon Review – Kentucky Vintage Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

Kentucky Vintage is the least expensive brand member of Willett’s “Small Batch Boutique Bourbon Collection,” with Pure Kentucky, Rowan’s Creek, and Noah’s Mill rounding out the line.  The bottle states that it is bottled by “Kentucky Vintage Distillery” in Bardstown, Kentucky, although that distillery only exists on paper.  It’s really Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd., which of course is now better known as Willett Distillery (another assumed name of KBD).  They’re doing great things at Willett, but does this moderate / low-priced brand keep pace?

Bourbon:
Kentucky Vintage – Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
Batch 14-11

Distillery:
Undisclosed

Age:
Undisclosed (but for those who can believe it, the bottle states “This Bourbon has been allowed to age long beyond that of any ordinary Bourbon…”)

Bottled:

Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. d/b/a Kentucky Vintage Distillery

Proof:
90 proof

Cost:
$22.49

Tasting Notes

Color:
Light amber.

Nose:
Major corn sweetness, but overall subtle in all respects.  There’s slight walnut, ginger, and light fruit, but it’s all very faint.

Taste:
Lots of corn sweetness and not much rye balance, but rye spice does show eventually.  It has decent warmth, but also some bitterness and it seemed a little thin instead of creaminess that I enjoy.  It really does not have any complexity or much character, but it’s inoffensive.  In order to check my impressions, I arranged a double blind tasting and three out of four guessed that this was corn whiskey. 

Finish:
Short and unremarkable with drying pepper spice.

Bottom Line

Even for Bourbon in this moderate price range, you can do better.  Kentucky Vintage has an attractive bottle and label, and a high-end implying wax stamp and black wax dipped closure (screw top, however).  Options that spend less on appearances but are better choices at similar prices include Four Roses Yellow Label and Old Weller Antique 107.  And for about $8.00 dollars more, you’d be in the range of some of my “price performers” like Elijah Craig 12, Elmer T. Lee and Four Roses Single Barrel.

Kentucky Vintage is still more-or-less fairly-priced, but with so many other options, this one is likely to get lost in the shuffle.  While I don’t plan on buying another bottle, I know that I will be tempted by future batches, based solely on Willett’s reputation. 

Score on The Sipp’n Corn Scale:
Kentucky Vintage:  2.0

The Sipp’n Corn Scale™:
1 – Wouldn’t even accept a free drink of it.
2 – Would gladly drink it if someone else was buying.
3 – Glad to include this in my bar.
4 – Excellent bourbon.  Worth the price and I’m sure to always have it in my bar.
5 – Wow.  I’ll search high and low to get another bottle of this.


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