Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Widow Jane. 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.
What do the Brooklyn Bridge, Erie Canal, and Widow Jane Lucky Thirteen have in common? They all started with source material from the legendary limestone mines of Rosendale, New York. In the case of the high-rye Lucky Thirteen, this aged 13-year blend of straight bourbons is proofed with limestone mineral water from Widow Jane Mine, a remnant cement mine that once gave rise to iconic public works projects. This “hard-yet-sweet” mineral water is a signature ingredient and fingerprint expression of Lucky Thirteen’s character.
Initially released as a private single-barrel program at a variety of proofs, Lucky Thirteen has recently joined Widow Jane’s core offerings available exclusively at 93 proof. Aged in small batches for 13 years in American oak barrels hand-picked by Widow Jane President and Head Distiller, Lisa Wicker, only a tad more than a handful of barrels of Lucky Thirteen will be available at a time.
Wicker notes that the fine and delicate blending process consisting of straight bourbons from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana makes Lucky Thirteen a rich, complex expression of well-aged, absolutely not chill filtered, small batch bourbon. “The resulting whiskey,” she adds, “has a rich mouthfeel and lingering finish.”
All warehousing, aging, barreling, blending, and bottling takes place at the Widow Jane Distillery located in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, NYC. Lucky Thirteen is available in 750 ml bottles, each hand-labeled before leaving the distillery, and is available at a suggested retail price of $99.99
Widow Jane Lucky Thirteen (image via Theresa Q. Tran)
Vital Stats: 93 proof, 46.5% ABV. Aged 13 years in charred American oak. A high rye blend of straight bourbon whiskeys proofed with pure limestone mineral water from Widow Jane Mine of Rosendale, New York.
Nose: Vanilla, butterscotch, Werther’s candy, and the bright earthiness of cut cedar.
Palate: Candied orange zest, burnt sugar and spice with subtle roasted maltiness.
Widow Jane Lucky Thirteen is a well-balanced whiskey with a pleasurable nose brightened by a spicy, bittersweet palate. Official tasting notes suggests “caramel corn,” and to me this calls to mind a box of Cracker Jacks with those roasted peanuts with the skin still on. For those unfamiliar with this particular form of nostalgia, each box of Cracker Jacks promised a small surprise inside. Perhaps because of the price point, I keep returning to Lucky Thirteen in search of that little something extra. And although I don’t quite find it, what is there is undoubtedly enjoyable.