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 four grain. According to Bending Branch the mash bill is uniquely created by Dr. Bob. The bottle says aged 4 years, bottled at 109 proof or 54.5% abv, of 4 ingredients: corn, wheat, rye, barley. It notes on the label it is a “four grain mash,” and “distilled in Kentucky bottled in Texas.” No indication as to which distillery this is sourced.
With that, we turn to the glass.
Tasting Notes: Bending Branch 1840 Four Grain Bourbon
Vital Stats: 4 year old Kentucky straight bourbon; 109 proof or 54.5% abv; four grain mash bill: corn, wheat, rye, barley; SRP $95.
Appearance: Copper or gold
Nose: A delicate and sweet aroma. Baking spices with brown sugar. There are touches of alcohol enveloped in oak. I get hints of sugar cookies out of the oven. Molasses and hazelnuts. Overall it is inviting and warm without overpowering the senses.
Taste: Dry and instantly warming to the palate. Subtle notes of char and oak are present up front. The flavor is robust without being confrontational. I struggled to piece out individual notes as the flavor is well blended together. I can find almost burnt brown sugar but not in a bad way. I can find the corn and wheat sweetness with rye spice sort of accentuating the profile.
The finish is very dry and long. It holds for a good long while on the palate with a tingling sensation. The final taste is char and oak but it’s soft. The flavor almost numbs the tongue which is different.
Whiskey Review: Bending Branch 1840 Four Grain Bourbon
For a four year bourbon this four grain has a lot of great components. It seems to be a decent introduction to high proof bourbon but falls short in a number of ways, at least to this reviewer. The taste profile was very hard to discern, and I find the softness of each grain was dulled by the lack of aging. I think we lose some of what makes this whiskey special because the char and oak are just too overrepresented.
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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...