Whiskey Review: Schoonover 14-Year-Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Hard Truth Distilling Co. 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.

Brown County in Indiana is steeped in history. Taking inspiration from that history, Hard Truth Distilling Co. in Nashville, Indiana, has come out with a “Legends” series based on one of the first settlers in Brown County. The first bottling is the cask strength Schoonover 14-Year-Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The series also offers smoked variations in Hickory, Maple, and Applewood. 

The Schoonover whiskey from Hard Truth is named after German fur trader, Johann Schoonover. Over 200 years ago, and after a government land survey following the Treaty of Fort Wayne and the Treaty of St. Mary’s, Schoonover was the first recorded settler in the area. Schoonover settled on the creek in order to trade with the Indigenous peoples. 

Like many new distilleries, Hard Truth sources its whiskey while their own spirit ages. Hard Truth Distilling Co. was founded in 2015. They do not outright say where they source from. Many of Hard Truth’s products are at least four years old.

Soon, we will start to see whiskey made at the 325-acre site in Brown County. Limited distribution makes it hard to find Hard Truth products. The Schoonover 14-Year-Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey Cask Strength is available in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Let’s see how it fares.

Schoonover 14-Year-Old (image via Courtney Kristjana/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Schoonover 14-Year-Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey Cask Strength

Vital Stats: 50.17% ABV, 100.34 proof. A cask strength straight bourbon rested and bottled at Hard Truth Distilling Co. The whiskey is uncut and unfiltered from a hand-selected barrel aged 14 years. 750ml $199.99.

Appearance: Mahogany

Nose: The nose is wonderful except for the underlying acetone. Orange segment and cherry are at the forefront. The aroma of the whiskey is bold, but it is also familiar. Deeper into the nose, almond extract rises amid dried cedar and black peppercorn. 

Palate: The underlying nail polish remover that is found on the nose is also evident on the palate. It is more harsh because of the acetone, but not because of the proof. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove fill out the middle and push the fruit to the finish. The baking spices give off a rye spice burn. The finish is full of black cherry and orange. The whiskey reminds me of Wild Turkey 101, so much so I drank them side by side to compare. The Wild Turkey won. 

The Takeaway

Summary

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Overall, the Schoonover 14-Year-Old is fine. However, I do not think the bottle warrants a $200 price tag when it has a very similar profile to Wild Turkey 101. It is a single barrel mind you, but the harshness of acetone on the palate makes it less desirable. It works well with a splash of soda water on ice to tame the heat.

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