For those classic rock fans among us, the name of the whiskey might make the you think of a certain Queen song (go ahead, I’ll wait while you sing the chorus to yourself. I said, to yourself!).  Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on.

Big Bottom Whiskey has a series of five whiskies, three of which are finished in various wine casks.  Now, you may notice I said “has a series of”, but didn’t say “distills” or “makes”. The founder of Big Bottom, Ted Pappas, isn’t shy about saying he isn’t distilling his hooch. There’s a huge debate right now about things like, how could a 3 year old distillery put out a 10 year old whiskey. The answer? They can’t, unless they buy it from somewhere else and bottle/finish/further age it before selling it under their own label. It’s not unusual or illegal, and even the big names do it from time to time. I’m not calling it out here as a finger pointing thing, but more of an awareness.  If you keep expanding your whiskey knowledge, you’ll likely run across the concept – either on a website, or some angry curmudgeon that doesn’t believe it’s “right”. I’m on the side of whatever tastes good is right, as long as you follow the actual laws in labeling your hooch, it’s all good (which Big Bottom, of course, does).  Here’s what I thought of the port cask finished bourbonsláinte!

Nose: sweet, what I’ve come to expect from bourbon. Fairly light, it’s not overwhelming, doesn’t burn, slightly alcohol smell, but not unpleasant.

Color: deep amber, shading to an almost auburn.  One of the darker whiskies on my shelf. It’s a lovely shade – definitely makes you want to taste it to see if it matches the rich color.

Taste: sweet from beginning to end, with the slightest spice in the middle.  This bourbon does taste like the color and smell indicate – it’s smooth and full on your tongue, sweet with the suggestion of its port cask finish.  It’s a rye bourbon (36%), which is what gives it that bit of spice in the middle – perfect to take the edge off the sweet of the corn and port finish.

ABV: 45.5% (or 92 proof)

Price point: $40 at a local SoCal retailer

Other notes: This is a tasty bourbon at a reasonable price. I tend to like the finished bourbons, but not all are created equal, though they may be finished in the kind of cask.  This is a keeper!

9 pancakes out of 10 – great stuff!

Article by: Jeanne Runkle

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