Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Filmland Spirits. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced 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.
Fans of bourbon and B movie horror flicks unafraid of wacky fun are in for a treat. Troy Bolotnick, CEO of Filmland Spirits and writer of films not worth mentioning but hilarious to research, recently united his Hollywood insider status with his love of whiskey for three exceptionally entertaining releases for his company based out of California.
Filmland Spirits released three whiskeys: a bourbon, a cask strength bourbon, and a rye. It feels hokey to write, but these are more of an experience than mere liquid in a glass. Each bottling features original artwork, a story concept, characters, and script excerpts in a well thought out package that Bolotnick describes as “delicious and fun, outrageous and unique.” I think that’s a very fair assessment. Oftentimes leaning into a theme for alcoholic beverages comes off as gimmicky. Fortunately, I think the packaging design works well and is thoughtfully executed from bottle to website.
The non-cask strength bourbon reviewed here, the Filmland Spirits Moonlight Mayhem! Straight Bourbon, was distilled in Indiana and blended in Kentucky. Unfortunately, there’s very little information about the thought process behind the whiskey beyond the legally required minimum and the mash bill. A page dedicated to directors’ commentary or behind the scenes notes could be an entertaining way to present this info so often desired by the modern whiskey imbiber.
The concept for this bottling features a werewolf-themed spin on the star-crossed lovers. The label’s artwork is an original B movie poster with lush detail and vibrant colors. The glass and stopper are imprinted with the look of a filmstrip, which is subtle and elegant. I also appreciated the modern spin on the damsel in distress (she’s the werewolf “fighting” to protect her lover, the male human). More details on the story are included on the back and online. The website uses every opportunity to link back to the theme, even using the rating warning box to show the 21+ requirement for accessing the website.
Film buffs and whiskey aficionados can purchase these in stores in California and Kentucky, or to ship to most states through Filmland’s website.
Moonlight Mayhem! Straight Bourbon (image via Suzanne Bayard/The Whiskey Wash)
Vital Stats: Aged for 4+ years in white American oak, 47% ABV, mash bill: 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley, SRP $54.99/ 750ml bottle.
Appearance: This whiskey is moderate mahogany in color with an orange undertone.
Nose: This opens with a moderately intense nose of red cherries and fruitcake. It opens into notes of dried orange peels, cedar, and bread dough. It smells well composed and pleasant with no sharp elbows.
Palate: This feels moderate in body with a limp silkiness. There’s a touch of fine tannins that adds an enjoyable texture. I pick up more of the fruitcake note, melted brown sugar, and candied orange peel. The flavors seem more intense than the nose. Everything melts into persistent notes of Irish soda bread, freshly baked currant scones, and flamed orange peel. I feel like I’m walking through a bakery early in the morning, when the breads and pastries are just leaving the oven. The finish is drying, giving it a refreshing and cleansing quality to the palate.
It’s quite a lovely spirit. My top critique would be that it leans a touch simplistic aromatically; but I do enjoy the elegance over the bombast. Although the silliness of the label initially gave me pause, I can see that there was a lot of thought put into the packaging and the liquid. I could see myself sipping this neat as the weather gets colder.
Suzanne Bayard struck out to the West Coast with her now husband almost a decade ago to explore the intersection of wine and policy in its world-class wine regions. She manages a Portland, OR bottle shop by day as the wine buyer and newsletter editor. She is also the Director...