Jefferson’s Reserve Groth Cask Finish

Jefferson Reserve Groth Reserve 2.jpg

Thanks to /u/theslicknick6 for the sample

Jefferson’s Bourbon is a company that was founded in 1997 by Chet and Trey Zoeller, a father and son team. They were purchased by Castle Brands in 2005. They are now distilling their own rye whiskey.

The company blends American and Canadian sourced whiskies. They try different things, for better or for worse, and push the idea of different whiskies.

Jefferson’s Reserve Groth Cask Finish is first aged in new American oak for six years. At that point they finish it in Groth Cabernet Sauvignon barrels for a further nine months. The red wine barrels are sourced from Groth, which is a winery out of the Napa Valley in California. The wood used for them is French oak.

No idea where the whiskey is sourced from.

Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?

Jefferson Reserve Groth Reserve 1.jpg

Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Kentucky

Abv: 45.1%

Colour: 5YR 6/10

Nose: White raspberry, corn, peach, peanut, butterscotch, cloves

Initial tart fruity nose eventually opens up into some corn and peanut notes that identify it as bourbon. However the spice, peach, and butterscotch mix with this, reducing the strong impact of anything here, leaving a muddled nose.

I wish some of the flavours were stronger on the nose, especially the cloves.

Taste: Butter, sour cherry, grass, roast chicken, molasses, saki

Nice buttery note here, and it works with the sour cherry. Very meaty note here as well, however as time goes on it’s more herbal.

One of my bias is I don’t love the flavour of saki (rice wine). So that flavour sticks out to me as time goes on, and I’m not loving it.

Finish: Pepper, unripe nectarine, grass, brown sugar, dry, gravel, musky, grape

Very unripe, dry, musky finish. It’s not a funk, it’s like a dry, raw flavour. Lots of gravel like flavours. Not tied back to the taste at all.

Conclusion: It’s an interesting dram. Using red wine casks isn’t easy. I feel there was some things this did well, and other places it didn’t.

The nose ended up muddled. I think that more time in the virgin oak would have punched up the flavours on the nose and then they could hold their own with the red wine. However perhaps this was chosen because they weren’t strong and the cask was under reacting with time.

The taste had some nice butter/sour cherry things going on, and good meatiness, however it went to this saki note which I didn’t like, which in turn took over. If you like saki, add 4 points to the score.

The finish was underwhelming and rough. Too dry, too earth forward, and rough. Not my thing.

All in all a good try. I think they should take one of two routes here: It feels like this was a bourbon that wasn’t aging as well as it could that was salvaged to a red wine cask. I think either longer in the red wine or longer in the American oak would have saved it. However I don’t know that for sure, just basing it on the flavours I tasted.


Bourbon review #198, Kentucky review #124, Whiskey Network review #1136

3 thoughts on “Jefferson’s Reserve Groth Cask Finish

    1. I can imagine what you mean when you describe a taste as “sake”, but as a practical matter that’s about as meaningful as describing a taste as “whisky”. The spectrum of flavours in sake is huge.


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