It’s not often in life that a small, craft distillery pops up in your town, and you have the opportunity to sample batches of hand-crafted bourbon as it ages.
I’ve had such an opportunity with Dark Corner Distillery’s Lewis Redmond bourbon. I was fortunate enough to be able to get in on Batch 1, which was released in November 2012 after being in barrels for about one year.
Prior to procuring my bottle of Lewis Redmond, I had a bottle of Woodford Reserve that lasted me about a year. It tells you what I think of Lewis that he only stayed on my shelf for about three months. Yeah, it’s good.
Since I was nearly out of my Batch 1 bottle, I figured I should replenish my supply with a recently released bottle of Batch 3. If you know me at all, it should come as no surprise that I would do an impromptu tasting, a head-to-head battle of Batch 1 vs. his younger brother (or would it be older?) Batch 3.
The first release of the bourbon explodes with vanilla, caramel and sugar on the nose. It’s sweet for a bourbon, but tastes delicious. It’s smooth and pops with flavor.
I get a lot of vanilla and sugar. Some oak. It’s light on the palate, vibrant and energetic.
I think it would be very accessible for someone who is used to cutting their whiskey or bourbon with mixers to drink neat.
Even after only a few more month in the barrels, Batch 3 is noticeably different from it’s older sibling. It’s slightly darker. There’s more oak on the nose (no surprise, given that it was in the barrels longer) and it’s not as sweet as Batch 1.
The flavor is also more oaky, though not overpowering. It tastes like a more mature version of Batch 1, which makes sense. It’s fuller bodied, still smooth, and the finish lingers a bit longer.
It’s a tough one to call. I’m sure that bourbon purists will like Batch 3 better, since it tastes more like a traditional bourbon that they’re used to drinking. It is really good, and I’m going to enjoy the hell out of that bottle.
However, there’s something about Batch 1. It has a youthful energy to it, like a college grad who has little experience, but knows he’s in for greatness and is ready to take on the world.
It may expose me as a neophyte in the bourbon world, but I tip my cap to Batch 1. The explosion of aroma and flavor is very unique from the bourbons I’ve had, which admittedly aren’t a ton. I’m a beer guy, after all.