Whiskey Review: Bomberger’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon (2020)

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Michter’s. This in no way, per our editorial policiesinfluenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

When I sit down to sip on a new bourbon, I am looking for a few things. Yes, I am looking for depth of flavor, heat, mouthfeel and all the other things that go into the experience. But I also want to taste the care, discipline, and vision that the distiller or blender and everyone involved put into each sip.

Heritage labels, many times, become a marketing ploy. A batch of bottles that were developed to invoke nostalgia or to invigorate the market. With Bomberger’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon, put out by Michter’s, their marketing is scant, but the flavor is there, ticking all the boxes for a bourbon that would make any distillery proud and will appeal to many, if not all tasters.

Bomberger’s Distillery came to life in the 1750’s and has a rich history of changing hands over the years. It was established by John and Michael Shenk for their rye whiskey distillation, and stayed in operation in some form or another until prohibition. The distillery closed down in 1989, and while the facilities themselves are defunct, their legacy and importance to the American tradition of distilling is alive and well through the sale and distribution of their heritage name brands.

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The current 2020 release of Bomberger’s is produced by Michter’s as one of their limited batch releases. Much like their release of Shenk’s sour mash, this whiskey is a pleasant sleeper that will please the palate and can be a special option for any collector, let alone someone who likes to have an easy drinking bourbon on hand for special occasions.

Bomberger’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon (2020)

Bomberger’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon (2020) (image via John Dover/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Bomberger’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon (2020)

Vital Stats: Bottled at 108 proof, only 1738 bottles have been made available for their 2020 release. For the aging of this release barrels made from special Chinquapin (Quercus muehlenbergii) wood that has been naturally air dried for over 3 years were used as part of the overall blend.

Appearance: The color has a hint of red to the tint I associate with varnished wood.

Nose: Butterscotch candy and orange peel are the first notes that hit me. As I dove deeper, I found the rich scent of raisin and dried plum came forth along with a hint of oak and old leather.

Palate: Orange and clove hit first when I took my first taste. A prickly heat that did not overwhelm or stay too long accompanied these flavors. Next came the sugary taste of cinnamon candy along with baking spices like clove and nutmeg. There was a light maltiness as well as a subtle note of molasses. Ice brought out the buttery nature but the flavors stay vibrant with the slight dilution.

The Takeaway

Summary

My first tasting left me feeling that this bourbon was a bit on the sweet side for me. As I dove further in, the richness and heat of the distillation came forth. I was left with the feeling that this is a bourbon I would like to have around for those chilly fall and winter evenings when you just want to sit down with a nice book and a fire. It is also a lovely bourbon to induct new drinkers into the bourbon landscape. It ticks the boxes that are necessary, even if it relies on the sweet notes more than my personal palate prefers.

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