Whiskey Review: Roughstock Montana Bourbon Whiskey - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Roughstock Montana Bourbon Whiskey

After Prohibition was repealed in 1933, Montana adopted some seriously crazy liquor laws. The state enacted a quota system for their licenses in 1947, which allotted for one liquor license for every 1500 citizens in a township. With a finite number of licenses available, restaurant owners looking to serve alcohol are paying upwards of $400,000 just to obtain a liquor license, and that’s just the initial buy-in, not including yearly renewal fees. Those who can’t afford the astronomical ticket price are forced to rely on chance in raffles, or choose not to serve alcohol at all.

The state’s grip on distilleries is just as tight. In fact, Roughstock Distillery was a pioneer in Montana distilling after being the first distillery to open its doors in Montana in over 100 years. They opened their doors in 2005 in Bozeman, Montana near Yellowstone National Park, just twelve years ago.

That’s why it’s super unfortunate that Roughstock’s brick and mortar location is no longer in operation. When I called to find more information on the distillery, their answering machine told me, “If you’re calling regarding tastings, you should know we recently lost our lease, and our tasting room will be closed until we are able to find a new location. You can still find our spirits at any Montana state liquor store and many of your favorite watering holes.” 

Whiskey Review: Roughstock Montana Bourbon Whiskey

Vital Stats: 90 proof, with 45% abv. The mash is made from a mix of four in-house bourbon mashes, each with corn, rye and barley. Average cost is around $50 per 750ml bottle.

Appearance: Brightly copper-colored with oily, medium-bodied legs. The liquid itself is almost shiny.

Nose: Bourbon is known for its vanilla, caramel and oaky notes, and this version doesn’t disappoint. There are also interesting notes of orange zest, toasted marshmallows, and freshly baked bread.

Palate: Roughstock’s Montana Bourbon Whiskey is a great example of a very true, classic American bourbon. It’s about as bourbon as bourbon gets. It’s warming, and classically sweet, and there’s virtually no burn. The aftertaste doesn’t linger too long, and it doesn’t stick to my tongue the way other sweet whiskies like to do. Honey and vanilla hung out in my mouth for a bit, and then turned into a mature oak flavor that added a lot of complexity. 

The Takeaway

I like the fact that it’s handcrafted, literally from start to finish from local, quality ingredients. I think the flavors and the quality of the whiskey reflect the care and time that went into distilling and blending it. For casual sipping, I liked it very much on the rocks and with a single ice cube, and it also made a really good Manhattan.

User Rating 5 (1 vote)