Whiskey Review: Bending Branch 1840 Bourbon High Rye

, | May 16, 2023

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.

Bending Branch is a Comfort, Texas-based wine and spirits company. The winery, you read that correctly, winery was founded in 2009. Specializing in Tannat style wine, this Texas based winery is expanding in whiskey.

Bending Branch has two whiskey labels, Bending Branch 1840 and Chickenduck. 1840 has a high rye bourbon and a four grain bourbon. The Chicken Duck has a high rye bourbon and a wheated bourbon.

According to a press release from Bending Branch, “The Bending Branch 1840 brand features premium Kentucky straight bourbon and high rye bourbon whiskeys, aged for a minimum of four years in new American charred oak barrels, that Alison and Dr. Bob have sourced over the last two years for additional aging and bottling in Texas. 1840 pays homage to the year the Bending Branch Winery property was settled and to the original log cabin home on the property.”

This review will focus on the 1840 Kentucky straight bourbon high rye. The bottle says aged 4 years, bottled at 108 proof or 54% abv, of 3 ingredients: corn, rye, barley. It says “high rye” and “distilled in Kentucky, bottled in Texas.”

With that, we turn to the glass.

Bending Branch 1840 Bourbon High Rye review

We review Bending Branch 1840 Bourbon High Rye, a four year old Kentucky bourbon with a high rye mash bill sourced by a Texas winery. (image via Bending Branch)

Tasting Notes: Bending Branch 1840 Bourbon High Rye

Vital Stats: 4 year old Kentucky straight bourbon; 108 proof of 54% abv; high rye mash with corn and barley; SRP $75.

Appearance: Gold

Nose: sweet rye spice with cinnamon and brown sugar. There is an unpinning of alcohol, but overall it is sweet and very inviting.

Taste: Slow burn to the palate to start but a little watery as a mouthfeel. A very sweet splash of rye and molasses sugar to the palate. Each sip introduced a little stronger deep note but it was progressive and allowed you to explore the whiskey. There is a subtle warming in the chest with the sip. There is a lingering char note but extremely soft. Successive sips bring about a little more oily of a mouthfeel, but still very delicate across the mouth.

The finish after the second or third sips starts to hold nicely to the palate. At first it just disappears, but after a sip or two you get a nice tingling to the mouth with a drying component which holds the molasses and wood taste against the palate.

Whiskey Review: Bending Branch 1840 Bourbon High Rye


Upfront, I think it needs to be older. I want this to be older. I want it to be older because I really liked the profile and think some extra time in barrel would just be extraordinary. What I appreciate about this bourbon is it stays true to being a bourbon with a high rye mash. Too often ‘high rye’ is an excuse for trying to make a rye whiskey but wanting to use a bourbon recipe.

You get two competing whiskeys in one glass and it’s just hard to enjoy. Here, we have a bourbon who is complemented by rye spice. This does a great job of evolving with each successive sip and really allowing you to explore the flavors.

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Charles Steele

Charles Steele is a Portland area attorney, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. His legal education affords him an analytical approach to understanding whiskey and other aged spirits. Traditionally a legal writer, freelancing for The Whiskey Wash will prove a unique opportunity to flex his writing skills. Although he...