Saturday, December 29, 2012

Trader Joe's Kentucky Bourbon

I been so stuck on my standards (Bulleit, Wild Turkey, occasionally Rebel Yell) for so long I haven't ventured into anything new for quite some time.

This afternoon, I spotted this one at Trader Joe's. Octane level similar to Bulleit, but at the decent price to be expected of Trader Joe's.

OK, for the record:
As a general rule, I will try absolutely anything with a Trader Joe's label. They even market an edible pecan pie under their own name... that says something to me.
TJ may not be batting 1.000, but they are in the near .900's in my book. (I mean, they put out a pecan pie that is edible! Standard rule here: I avoid pecan pie like I avoid dogs, rap music and dental appointments.)
So yeah, put 'Trader Joe's' on the label and I'm a sucker for it every time...

Back to the posting at hand...

This stuff says 'Bourbon Square Distilling Company' (which does not google up) on the label. Rather generic sounding. Seems to me that a reputable distiller is attempting to mask their hand in this. (Par for the course with store labels. Really.)

A tad cautious... it's only $15, and placed right next to the Wild Turkey (for $3 more).

I came for Wild Turkey, I left with Trader Joe's. I liked the way it sat in the bottle... Very similar to Wild Turkey in color, vibe and aura, with an above-standard octane level to boot.
Yeah, I know.... 'vibe' and 'aura'... very emotionally of me.
My emotions said 'Grab this shit.'
So, I did.

On to the pour...

A strong alcohol sense in the nose, traces of caramel, some grassiness. It reminds me of Wild Turkey, and that's not a bad thing.

On the tongue it's smooth up front, rich and sweet with more caramel coming through, hints of oak and charred sugar... spicy, with a scratchy burn toward the back... ending with a spicy finish, but too short.

A few minutes later, the effects kick in... hard.
The label says it's 90 proof, stronger than most, yet not as strong as some of my favorites... still... it hits quicker than expected, leaving me in a comfortable buzz that begs for more.

Overall: not a bad choice for the money. Go ahead and get you some.


John said...

My kids just gave me a bottle of McKenzie Bourbon Whiskey, distilled in the Finger Lakes region of New York. I am sure I don't have your nose for good whisky, but I can tell you there is a reason New York is not known as the Bourbon capital of the U.S. As a Bourbon maker, the McKenzie clan appears to stick too close to its Scottish roots.

Gino said...

i'm no whiskey expert, and largely avoid the really good stuff due to financial constraints.

i just like bourbon, a whole lot, and prefer to blog about that instead of politics.

and the weakest i had: Broken Bell, from that great bourbon state of MN.LOL.. like a 5th of nothing, for $20.

Brian said...

Seems to me that a reputable distiller is attempting to mask their hand in this.


They have similar deals with the their TJ-brand beers. It isn't hard to figure out who's making their products for them though, if you are fairly familiar with the products generally. You can usually tell by the packaging; e.g., the fonts they use, and the shape of the bottles (no point in retooling your plant when all you have to do is slap a different label on.) It's pretty obvious that their pilsner/marzen/bock beers are made by Gordon Biersh, and their "on lees" by Unibroue. Though neither company will admit so publicly.

Gino said...

like i could tell that Beam made the Costco. the taste gave it away.

this, i find out, is made by Buffalo Trace, who puts out a good product. seems another blogger did the research on who took out the govt license for this label.

Anonymous said...

This is distilled by Buffalo Trace. It's alright for $15, but really there's better for a dollar or two more elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Bought this for the first fact, sipping it now. Took me by surprise at first. A splash of water and it tasted so much better. May buy again.

Anonymous said...

Bourbon square distilling is who makes knob Creek.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the TJ's Bourbon shares a bottle with Stag Jr.:

Anonymous said...

I was at Barton's Distillery in Bardstown while they were bottling Trader Joe's Bourbon. The tour guide said they bottle all of TJ's bourbon there.