Whiskey Review: Bluegrass High Rye Bourbon - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Bluegrass High Rye Bourbon

I must admit, when I first read the word “bluegrass,” I immediately thought of a folk music trio flatpicking a five-string banjo and an upright bass. While you may very well find a bluegrass band playing on select nights at the Bluegrass Distillery, I was surprised to find out that the term comes from the geographic region known for its hardy horses that feed on high calcium soil. I should have guessed by their logo and fancy paper seal that features a horse jockey and the motto “Fast Horses, Good Whiskey.”

Made in Lexington Kentucky, Bluegrass Distillers is the definition of handcrafted Kentucky bourbon whiskey. The distillery uses locally sourced, GMO-free ingredients and mashes, distills, and bottles in house. Their attitude is a reflection of the hard work and passion that goes into making Kentucky bourbon. Bluegrass Distillers is a fairly new distillery, having released their first product in November of 2015, and while its whiskey is still young, its potential is great.

I had the pleasure of tasting the Bluegrass High Rye Bourbon Barrel Drawn, which you can draw straight from the barrel, cork, and label all by yourself while visiting the distillery. It is 90 proof with a high rye mash bill that gives it a very dry and spicy character. While it can be floral and complex on the palate, I would not choose this as a sipping whiskey and only mix it in more flavorful cocktails like the Trinidad sour or Boulevardier.

image via Bluegrass Distillers

Tasting Notes: Bluegrass High Rye Bourbon Barrel Drawn

Vital Stats: 109 proof, 54.5% ABV

Appearance: A dark amber color with subtle legs and not much viscosity.

Nose: While apricot, orange peel, and apple dominate in the nose, there is also a subtle mustiness similar to a dry brandy.

Palate: The front of the palate is hot and astringent but finishes with subtle fruit notes and numbing peppercorn spice on the tongue.

The Takeaway

Bluegrass High Rye Bourbon Barrel Drawn is a deep dive into the culture of Lexington Kentucky. While high rye is expected to be spicy and hot, this whiskey is especially dry and needs dilution. It can be tough to balance in a cocktail but its complex fragrant and floral notes are a redeeming quality.

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About the author

Joe Frade