Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Uncle Nearest. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.
Filtered through sugar maple charcoal via the Lincoln County Process, the Uncle Nearest Whiskey brand was created to honor the whiskey-making process of the man who many now refer to as the “Godfather of Tennessee Whiskey,” Nathan “Nearest” Green. He was the first known African-American master distiller and his brand is now one of the first in the history of whiskey to celebrate an African-American.
The first phase of the new Nearest Green Distillery opened in September 2019 in Shelbyville, Tennessee. The distillery offers a “Premium Whiskey Tasting and Hard Hat Tour”, as well as a weekly “Founder’s Tour.” The hard hat portion of the tour takes visitors through the area of the distillery that is still under construction and set to open to the public in 2020. Some of these new and exciting additions are the single barrel warehouse and tasting room, along with Heritage Hall; which shows off a unique collection of all-things invented in Tennessee, with a special focus on Tennessee whiskey, walking horses, and country music.
The new Uncle Nearest 1884 Premium Small Batch Whiskey was drawn from barrels hand picked by Fawn Weaver, CEO and co-founder of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey. This 93 proof whiskey is a minimum seven-year-old blend that honors Nearest’s memory through his family’s personal involvement in the blending process. Each batch is created by a different descendant of the master distiller himself, with the back label of each bottle signed by the relative who curated that batch.
Victoria Eady-Butler, great-great-granddaughter of Nearest Green, shareholder of Uncle Nearest, and its Director of Administration said at the time this whiskey was released that “if my great-great-grandfather were alive today, I know how proud he would be to see us keeping his legacy alive through the continued growth of this brand. When Fawn first agreed to shine a light on our ancestor by putting his name on a bottle, we never could have imagined where Uncle Nearest would be two years later. With people around the world knowing the name Nearest Green, I speak for our entire family when I say we’re thrilled to be a part of his legacy”.
Tasting Notes: Uncle Nearest 1884 Premium Small Batch Whiskey
Vital Stats: A minimum seven-year-old whiskey, drawn from barrels that were handpicked by Fawn Weaver, co-founder of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey; Mash bill of at least 51% corn; Aged in new, charred oak barrels; Priced about $50 for a 750 ml bottle; 93 proof.
Appearance: Golden amber, like the sun slowly rising on a warm, summer morning. A translucent, light yellow glow; like a healing citrine gemstone filling your heart with love and light.
Nose: Waves of fresh churned butter and honey on toast fill my nose. I can smell butter browning on the stove, bringing back memories of homemade rice crispy treats cooling on the counter at grandma’s house.
Palate: A little harsh and dry, with a mild burn and flashes of smoked wood. The sugar maple process gives it a crisp, smooth, agave-like sweetness. Almost like vanilla cupcakes baking in the oven or fresh, fragrant flower fields on a warm, spring day.