Jefferson’s Very Small Batch Kentucky Straight
- Proof: 82
- Age Statement: 8 year old
- Distillery: McLain & Kyne (Clermont, KY)
Before I get started, let me say that even though the industry has gotten out of hand with tacking “small batch”, “very small batch”, and “single barrel” labels on everything, to the average bourbon drinker, the batch and barrel “title” means a sack of grain. But I must tip my drinking hat to Jefferson’s.
Small batch bourbons are designed to showcase unique flavors of specific barrels that are blended together to create a great tasting whiskey, and Jefferson’s Very Small Batch Kentucky Straight bourbon does just that. Jefferson’s is the handiwork of Trey and Chet Zoeller, a father and son team that embodies the spirit of curiosity and experimentation of Thomas Jefferson (whose image graces the bottle).
While not all experiments work well (I still shudder at the thought of Woodford Reserve’s Four Wood), Trey and Chet nailed it with this one. By keeping their batches “ridiculously small” and consistent, Jefferson’s puts out a product that pleases most bourbon drinkers, both new and old. Even guests who would rather have their bottle of Makers Mark pried from their cold, dead hands have given Jefferson’s the thumbs up.
After serving a few neat pours of Jefferson’s to tourists on our Urban Bourbon Trail I have gotten nothing but glowing reviews, so I was anxious to get a taste for myself. Although I lean towards higher proof whiskey’s, there’s still a soft spot in my heart for a well done, lower proof bourbon.
The nose has a light, almost feinty smell to it. Think sweaty, fragrant raisins. I heard rumors of a Jefferson’s Ocean – casks of Jefferson’s Reserve aged at sea. The nose from my Glencairn has me convinced that some ocean breeze has touched this whiskey.
At first sip, I’m pleasantly surprised by the fullness of this whiskey. Usually, lower proof means lower body, but with a mash bill of 60% corn, 30% rye, and 10% malted barley, there is a nice, silky smooth mouth feel and a little spice kick from the rye. After the taste of mild oak and caramel, red and citrus fruits dance across my tongue into a smooth finish of light vanilla. It’s damned hard for me to not like this whiskey. Everything about it is made to please!
I give this bourbon a…
(For more on how we grade our whiskey’s, click here)
Not an exceptional whiskey, but not a disappointment. Not only would I try it, at around $39 a fifth, I would buy a bottle. Even if you don’t dig the whiskey neat, Jefferson’s Very Small Batch Kentucky Straight bourbon brings Old Fashioned cocktails and Manhattans to life. Jefferson’s is also the centerpiece in the Triple Crown Julep. Here’s how to make it:
Triple Crown Julep
2 1/4 oz. Jefferson’s Reserve
1 tsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Water
4 Mint Sprigs
What are YOUR thoughts on Jefferson’s Very Small Batch Kentucky Straight? Leave us a review below!