Whiskey Review: Kooper Family The Prodigal Son Bourbon

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

While the corporate world may hold financial freedom and stability for some, it couldn’t hold the wild, wandering hearts of Michelle and Troy Kooper, the husband and wife founders of Kooper Family Whiskey Company. Based in La Grange, Texas, this award-winning team has created one of the first traditional whiskey blending houses in Texas.

What stood out to me at first look-over for the Prodigal Son Limited Edition Sour Mash Bourbon review I’m dong here was the label, texturally interesting with attention grabbing gold font and a pencil illustration of a bounding hare. I can tell that these are folks who have worked in advertising.

Kooper Family Whiskey Company started in 2012 and has experienced a steady 30% growth annually due to diligence and providing well thought out mash bills. Their goal is to develop the foundation to pass a successful and passion-driven family business down to their two children.

The Koopers learned the craft of making whiskey through trial and error. Starting in their kitchen with two hand-crafted stills they taught themselves to make high-quality grain alcohol. As their experience expanded, the Koopers decided that they preferred the aging and blending process and purchased an established distillate. As Troy states, “When it comes to whiskey making, we aren’t trying to innovate or change the process because we believe in the old-way of doing things is the gold standard.”

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With their growing popularity and active social media presence, I have no doubt Kooper Family Whiskey Company will continue to rise through the ranks.

The Prodigal Son Bourbon is a delicious limited-edition sour mash bourbon with a mash bill of 78% Corn, 10% Rye, and 12% Malt. Sour Mash “gives a sweeter, deeper flavor to the final product” by taking the run-off from older batches to start fermentation of the new mash. Think of the starter used to make sourdough bread.

Kooper Family The Prodigal Son Bourbon

Kooper Family The Prodigal Son Bourbon (image via Jerry Jenae Sampson/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Kooper Family The Prodigal Son Bourbon

Vital Stats: 86 proof (43% ABV). Distilled in Kentucky and aged for 4 years in Central Texas. 78% Corn, 10% Rye, 12% Malt. $40/750ml available at the distillery only.

Appearance: We’ve had state-wide wildfires here in Oregon and the first thing I thought when I held this whiskey up to the light was that it looked like the sky at sunset during a wildfire.

Nose: The nose is pleasant and fresh. I caught dried cut grass and sweet spun sugar with a bit of overripe banana.

Palate: The Prodigal Son is incredibly sippable. It is subtle and light, almost thin, without any burn or bitterness. I tasted honey and vanilla, like a homemade birthday cake, with a finish of licorice and wild mint. I will happily return to this bourbon and am excited to share it with friends.

The Takeaway

Summary

I think I like this whiskey even more after reading about the Kooper family. I admire people who take those risks in order to make a happier life for themselves. We all know how hard it is to follow your passion, and I am chuffed to see it work out for the Kooper Family Whiskey Company. And on top of that, The Prodigal Son Bourbon is a wonderful sipper with a great finish. I think this will appeal to those who love whiskey and those who merely dabble.

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