Today I start the two week countdown: two weeks from tomorrow I will be traveling to Louisville Kentucky to take part in the Bourbon Classic. The Classic is a newer event where distillers, enthusiasts, master chefs, distilleries and fans will gather in Louisville to learn about, taste and truly revel in the spirit we enjoy so much. This will be my first time at the Classic, a Christmas gift courtesy of my wonderful wife Jen, and I am counting down the minutes.
In The meantime, life goes on. And today it went on with an unexpected snowfall, and a painfully slow commute home from work. Such a day almost requires a glass of fine bourbon at the end of it to calm one’s nerves. Luckily for me, I had several new ones to choose from, so this evening I sampled one of he newer offerings from the Traverse City Whiskey Co., a Cherry infused Bourbon they refer to as their “American Cherry Edition!”
For those familiar with it, the Traverse City Whiskey Co. has been making small batch Michigan-based bourbon for a a while now. I say making, but in actuality they, as a newer distillery, have been purchasing their bourbon from a Midwest distributor who has created it to the taste profile they requested. This can get tricky, as we discussed in the past. Sometimes that means that smaller distilleries are basically slapping a label on a second rate product, and selling it under a “local” banner.
Now, if you read this blog regularly you know there are two particular things that can get my goat when talking about bourbon. I really hate when I believe a second rate offering hits the market at a premium price simply to be part of the current bourbon craze, and I have a personal vendetta against Bourbons that have been tarnished with too much finishing, flavor adding, or just shenanigans that confuse a flavor profile. So it would be a fair assumption that I would not be fond of a bourbon whiskey, from a newer outsourced brand, that has been infused with cherries. But that assumption would be wrong.
At least tonight. Maybe it was a refreshing drink after a long day. Maybe it was my home state pride. Likely, it was both with a strong dose of the mere fact I love cherries. But I actually enjoyed this, even more then I would have guessed.
The bottle I purchased was hand labeled Batch 001. Now I don’t know if that means it came from their first batch ever, as the product was just introduced in the fall, or the first batch of this year. But it was number one all the same. The nose was exactly what you would expect from a cherry infused bourbon. The scent of cherries, so integral a part of Traverse City tradition, was certainly the most noticeable element. There was also a strong scent of burned sugar, so common in younger Bourbons. After the glass sat a while, you could pick out notes of vanilla giving way to a baking spice elements. Cherries, vanilla and baking spices…made me hungry for a slice of pie to go with it.
The taste was more bourbon than cherry, and I’d say, for the market they seek, it’s a well measured mix. I could still get strong vanilla tastes, and although it was a rye, the spiciness was very low and tempered. That was probably due in no small part to the cherries, which blended well. There was a nice oakiness to it as well. It’s a thin mouth feel, and goes down easy with very little burn at the finish. I like a mellowed finish myself, so those looking for that finishing warmth may be disappointed, but then again, if you’re looking to get your ass kicked, you probably aren’t drinking cherry infused bourbon.
The price point for this juice is not bad – I picked it up for $25 and it seems about right. I would be more likely to mix it in an Old Fashioned or Manhattan where the cherry flavor would be a better touch.
According to their website, the Traverse City Whiskey Co. is currently working to set it self up as a fully in house bourbon distillery. They are going so far as to plant the crops that they will use in the process. Personally, I encourage this kind of growth. There is something special about a distillery that grows, distills and markets its own unique beverages. I look forward to seeing how the TCWC grows.
I feel strange about giving a rating to a bourbon that is so different then the others I typically try. But I will do it anyway.
Dan’s rating: 8.3 as a mixer bourbon; 7.5 as a sipper