American Bourbon Reviews By John Dover / October 23, 2020 Editor’s Note: These whiskeys were provided to us as review samples by Kozuba & Sons. 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 links 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 you get when a retired biochemist with a passion for crafting fine liqueurs enlists the marketing and branding talents of his sons to build a distillery in Poland? You get Kozuba & Sons Distillery, a business now based out of Florida where discipline, tradition, and ingenuity combine to deliver a drinking experience suited for most any palette. Founded in 2005, Kozuba started as a scrappy distiller of cordials. After a time of working to build up their brand in Poland, they decided to take their business to the United States giving their small operation a chance to grow. What we the drinkers are treated to are thoughtful flavor profiles that present the best of the various liquors they are putting forth. Their process incorporates hybrid copper stills and hands on attention to every step of the process. In this batch I had the delight of sampling three whiskeys. What came forth was the intention of disciplined methods of traditional distilling, paired with an obvious love for the spirits they are delivering. The whiskeys of Kozuba (image via John Dover/The Whiskey Wash) Tasting Notes: High Wheat Rye aged 6 years Vital Stats: This rye goes through six years of single barrel aging. It is crafted from a mixture of 65% rye grain and 35% wheat and clocks in at 90 proof. Color and Appearance: Held up to the light, this rye has a lovely light amber appearance. Nose: The first note I detected was cotton candy. This made me expect a much sweeter liquor once I tasted it, but it was not an unpleasant sweetness on the nose. There was also the strong presence of orange peel and vanilla with a secondary sweet smell of brown sugar. Palate: The mouthfeel was pleasantly buttery with a appropriate amount of heat. Clove and honey came forward first, followed by a wonderful balance of light oak and a hint of sun dried grains. Score: 4/5 Tasting Notes: Straight Bourbon Whiskey aged 3 years Vital Stats: Aged 3 years in a single barrel this small batch offering brings a few different grains to the party with 53% corn, 23% rye malt, 6% barley malt, and 6% caramel malt. The ABV comes in at 90 proof. Color and Appearance: Light amber in appearance and a similar viscosity to the rye. Nose: Malted milk balls came forward on the first waft followed by a soft caramel note. A few whiffs in and the sweet notes were joined by dry grains and a hint of vanilla. Palate: The oak forward flavor profile was an interesting change of gears from the rye. Once I was a couple sips in more tastes joined the party with a note of burnt sugar, a hint of old leather and cinnamon and clove on the back end. The heat was on the gentle side and hung on for most of the tasting. Score: 3.5/5 Tasting Notes: Starkus Light Whiskey 100% Rye malt Vital Stats: This single barrel aged small batch rye comes in at 80 proof. Aged in “American white oak, after-whiskey barrels.” Color and Appearance: The color on this whiskey reminded me of dry hay. Nose: A prominent note of butterscotch candy greeted me upon the first sniff. After that, oak, vanilla and cola flavors came forward to round out the nose. Palate: My first taste took me by surprise with an antiseptic or medicinal quality. After that first drink, the flavor rounded out and was replaced with a pleasant butterscotch note on the front of the tongue. There was a buttery mouth feel and a subtle heat that warmed as it went down. The final sips were met with vanilla and oak notes. Overall, well balanced and very smooth to drink. Score: 4/5 Final Thoughts: Batch reviews can go many ways. There is usually an outlier in the group that sinks or swims. In this tasting of offerings from Kozuba and Sons distillery, I found their offerings to be well balanced, thoughtful, and enjoyably easy to drink and sip away the afternoon to. This company has a lot going for it. Strong branding, a good story, and best of all, great spirits.