Redemption Whiskey – The Redemption name was chosen to reflect the idea of Rye re-claiming its status – prior to prohibition, it was the #1 selling type of whiskey. The Redemption portfolio of whiskeys all have a high rye content in its recipe which gives it a distinct flavorful spicy taste. The whiskey is all sourced in Lawrenceville Indiana from the old Seagram’s distillery, founded in 1847. The distinctiveness of Redemption comes from the attention to detail during the aging and batching process which is all done to taste, insuring consistency bottle to bottle. The combination of high rye content and proof allows the whiskey to gain significant flavor with less aging.
Redemption Bourbon – Sourced from Midwest Grain Products or “MGP” in Indiana, Redemption Straight Bourbon breaks from the label’s tradition of rye whiskey and high-rye bourbons. This bottling is made from a mash bill of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley (as opposed to 60% corn and 36% rye in their standard bottling). The whiskey is aged for at least two years in new, charred American oak. A high amount of corn gives a classic sweet taste with notes of vanilla and caramel from the wood, and the rye adds a light spice to balance. Bottled at 84 proof (42% abv) for a lighter experience, this whiskey is great on the rocks or in mixed drinks. Cooper’s Price $24.99
Redemption Rye – Redemption Rye’s goal is to bring back the classic American Rye cocktail. While Federal law states that a whiskey classified as a rye must be made from at least 51% rye, we chose to push our grain content to 95% with the other 5% being barley. This not only pushes the flavor forward, it also magnifies the unique profile of the rye grains. Beautiful and rich rye spice with light floral and citrus notes. On the nose you’ll find heat, oak, spice, and orange. The palate reveals clove, leather, and juniper. A moderate length on the finish with a slight bitterness. Great for sipping or mixing in a classic cocktail (think Manhattan, Old Fashioned, or Sazerac). True rye character at a fraction of the price! Cooper’s Price $24.98
Kentucky Vintage, Sour Mash Bourbon – For the Willett family, distilling craft whiskey is a family tradition. During Reconstruction, John David Willett, the family patriarch, began distilling whiskey at the Moore, Willett & Frenke Distillery, which was situated just outside of Louisville, Kentucky. In 1898, his son, A. Lambert Willett, who was 15 years old at the time, began following in his father’s footsteps. Three decades later, Lambert, together with his son, Thompson, purchased a farm on the outskirts of Bardstown KY, and began construction of the Willett Distilling Company. Eventually they changed its name to Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, yet the family tradition lives on. Evan Kulsveen, the current owner of KBD, is Thompson Willett’s son-in-law. In keeping with family tradition, Kentucky Vintage Bourbon is an authentic Kentucky straight whiskey. Bottled at a robust 90 proof, the bourbon has a golden chestnut color, along with an aroma of oranges, lemons, clover and honey. Notes of ginger, caramel apples, roasted nuts and creamy vanilla dominate the palate, and give way to a finish accented by hints of almonds and black pepper. This not a bourbon that gets much fanfare. It’s rare to hear anyone talk about it. Is it due to its limited availability in parts of the country? Is it because of the complete lack of marketing and boring bottle design? It can’t because of how the bourbon tastes, because it’s right on the money in quality and price. This maybe true with a lot of bourbons, but the more time you spend with Kentucky Vintage the more you’ll love it. It might not be the most exciting bourbon you can buy, but it’s one that deserves to be in your decanter as one of your “everyday go-to-bourbons.” Cooper’s Price $39.99
Old Forester 1920 “Prohibition-Style” Bourbon – Through a government permit allowing the production of whiskey for “medicinal purposes,” Old Forester was one of 6 legal distilleries operating during U.S. Prohibition. Launched in 2016, this third release in the “Whiskey Row” series was created in resemblance to what Old Forester would have tasted like during Prohibition. It is bottled at 57.5% ABV. The aroma is rich and powerful with dark fruit, burnt brown sugar, chocolate, and a hint of fruit. Not surprising for the proof, it tingles the nostrils with a trace of ethanol. On the palate it’s big, bold, and immediately likable. The richness of barrel char and dark chocolate play against the sweetness of caramel and creme brûlée. Allspice and black pepper pop initially, then quickly dissipate and leave a long-lingering finish. While it presumably shares the same mash-bill as the others in the Whiskey Row Series, it’s amazing how different it tastes. Sure the proof is higher, but inside we find an entirely different flavor profile. Brown-Forman provides little to go by as far as what might have contributed to this, other than barrel selection and masterful blending. Even by comparison with the Old Forester Birthday Bourbon Series, which can be enjoyable and echo similar flavor characteristics most likely due to the particular rick-house and floor the barrels are pulled from, 1920 seems to stand out by offering better balance and an immediately enjoyable experience. I didn’t have to peel back layers to enjoy it. Cooper’s Price $54.99