Thursday, September 1, 2016

One on One with Kentucky Artisan Distillery and Whiskey Row Bourbon Whiskey

Kentucky Artisan Distillers is a small but growing distillery East of Louisville in Crestwood, Kentucky.  Many bourbon heads may know them as the home of Jefferson's Reserve but they also boast a quite tasty offering under the Whiskey Row label.  I had the opportunity to sit down with Jeremy Dever, the Facility Director at Kentucky Artisan to discuss the background, philosophy and future of the spirit.

Four Barrels: First tell us about the bottle.

JD: The label presents a picture of Main Street Louisville around the year 1864.  We are shooting for a nostalgic feel around the times when bourbon started flowing down the Ohio River.

FB: and the story?
JD: Keeping in line with others who are looking back at the heritage of the Kentucky native spirit, the thinking around this bourbon is to show its origins and how it used to be made.  Ships used to travel down the Ohio River and at each stop, additional distillate would be combined with the previous stop.  Eventually, the trip down to Louisiana would allow these whiskeys time to mingle and create a unique product.

FB: Talk about how this bourbon is produced.

JD: The most recent edition of batch 4 is purposely different from each of the previous 3.  This edition is a blend of 3-5 whiskeys sourced from Kentucky distilleries.  Each of those within the blend are 4-7 years old.  This is a 4 grain whiskey - predominantly wheat.

We blend, chill filter and bottle on site in Crestwood.  Each batch is different and is based on a flavor profile sought by owner and Master Blender Steve Thompson (former Brown Foreman Executive).  Each batch is limited to approximately 12-15 barrels and will be differentiated by the color of the bottle neck.  Batch 4 is red.

FB reaction:
The nose is brief but the initial flavor makes up for it.  I found lots of oak, accented by flavors of banana and white chocolate.

This is certainly sipping bourbon.  There is a significant amount of spice on the palate - even though the dominant grain is wheat.  You can taste the age and feel the impact of the wood.
The finish seems about right.  Not at all brief and certainly does not linger on the tongue.
I am certainly glad to see distilleries such as Kentucky Artisan in the Bluegrass.  On a recent trip to the distillery, I was given a tour along with hints about the future of the brand.  They offer multiple samples at the end including a few Jefferson's products.  Definitely worth checking out yourself.

Website:  Kentucky Artisan Distillery

Jeffersons Bourbon