Well this is special. I’m running a tasting, and I get to try the first bourbon I’ve ever had from Arkansas. That’s pretty cool.
Then I made a fool of myself by getting the most basic thing wrong: The definition of Bourbon. I’ve heard (erroneously) over and over it only means Kentucky or Tennessee, and that’s not right at all. So let this be a lesson to future me: You’re a disappointment and no one likes you.
So what do we have on the agenda next? Why Rock Town Arkansas Single Barrel Reserve Cask Strength, of course. Truly a cool way to try out a first dram from a region, from a distillery, or from 60 feet up, really.
Rock Town uses local Arkansas grains, ensures that everything is grain to glass, and is the first legal Arkansas distillery since prohibition. Heck, all the grains come from 125 miles from around the distillery. They were even voted the 2015 micro-distillery of the year by noted cat eye enthusiast Jimbo Murray. But let’s not hold that against them.
So we have whiskey mostly aged in smaller barrels, with each step of the way watched closely by people who are quite passionate about crafting it. All good and well. But how does it taste?
Let’s see, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Barrel # 365
Total Number of Bottles: 105
Mashbill: 82% Arkansas Corn, 9% Arkansas soft red winter wheat and 9% malted barley
Colour: 5YR 5/8
Nose: Cherry, corn, cereal
Alright, initial nose is following a very fruity, cereal-heavy pathway. Not getting too much, however I do know this is young. So far I’m happy that there’s nothing too astringent or rough.
People have started to give me that “searching for something nice to say” look.
Taste: Wheat, astringent, raisin, caramel
Alright, this is young. Quite young. First couple sips are very, very hot. And there’s a strong alcohol note that you need to hoist yourself over.
Yeah, that needs to more time. Quite hot.
Finish: Bug spray, vegetal, mint, salt
Oh, did I think the taste needed time? This finish is kicking me right from arsehole to appetite and all along the happy nerve places in between.
There’s something at the end that, given some time and work, could be nice.
Conclusion: I’d start ageing this longer if I were them: There are aspects here that will eventually become better with time and larger casks. I heard they are using a lot of smaller casks, and frankly, I think they are missing out. Take the time. Use the time. There are some elements here that are unique, interesting, and tasty. One crazy eye review doesn’t mean you shouldn’t change.
Overall this single barrel was an interesting batch, but not something I wanted to keep drinking. The nose was nice. The rest was painful. All but one person in the room wasn’t a fan of this, and that one guy may be crazy.
Seriously, they are doing cool, interesting stuff at the distillery. They really should take some money from the vodka/gins/flavoured spirits and get bigger casks, take some more time.
Bourbon review #244, Arkansas review #1, Whiskey Network review #1597