Whiskey Reviews: World Whiskey Society Bourbons

, | May 16, 2022

Editor’s Note: These whiskeys were provided to us as review samples by the World Whiskey Society. 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.

When I was a kid, the neighbor kids had a clubhouse: a treehouse literally built in the tree their dad had made. It was cool and I was not allowed there because I was…empirically not cool.  On the off occasions I was granted entry, it…wasn’t so great.

Why am I telling this story?

Because the name World Whiskey Society, to me, sounds like a secret clubhouse. A superhero resting pad. A designation to fight against crimes of flavored whiskies, convoluted drinking vessels, and voluminous marketing kits. Or something at least vaguely proactive.

I had not heard boo of the World Whiskey Society, so I did a little googling. The Society keeps a relatively low level of findability on the World Wide Web, occasionally emerging as a “a limited release whisky company” or that their mission consists of “creating the world’s most elusive and sought after whiskies.” There’s something kind of Bond-like about that, no? They have a Facebook page which doesn’t share any additional information beyond “World Whiskey Society….features hard to find expertly crafted whiskies from around the world with innovative that whisk(e)y connoisseurs will be blown away by.” Their Instagram isn’t super-enlightening. And Reddit calls them out as well.

I’m not saying you have to have a Cadillac-sized marketing kit, but maybe share a little about who you are and what you do?

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Anyway, two whiskies to review!

The World Whiskey Society Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Japanese Mizunara Oak Shochu Barrels Bardstown Edition uses a mash from Bardstown Bourbon Company made from 70 percent corn, 18 percent rye, and 12 percent malted barley. And the origin story of its companion, the World Whiskey Society Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Cognac Casks Cognac Edition, is straight bourbon finished barrels that previously held Grande Champagne XO Cognac.

World Whiskey Society bourbon review

World Whiskey Society bourbons (image via Carin Moonin)

Tasting NotesWorld Whiskey Society Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Japanese Mizunara Oak Shochu Barrels Bardstown Edition

Vital stats: Could this name consist of any more words? Mash bill of 70 percent corn, 18 percent rye, and 12 percent malted barley, from Kentucky-based Bardstown Bourbon Company; 120 proof; about $160 for 750 ml if you can find it. Limited edition; only 1,500 bottles were made.

Appearance: Particleboard brown. Think IKEA desk color, evoking of maple but not quite achieving it.

Nose: The nose is pretty simple, and I don’t hate it. Very citrus-y: Mandarin oranges, Key limes, some toffee and vanilla, too. It’s light on the nose and not at all alcohol-whiffy, either.

Palate: But don’t love this on the palate. Here’s where the high-proof comes into play. There is citrus but also bitterness, like you were making an orange cake and you left it in too long. This is a little acerbic. Loud on the palate. I feel like it wants to be something that it is not. How is this as expensive as it is? Scarcity? Whiskey stagflation?

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Rating: 2

Tasting Notes: World Whiskey Society Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Cognac Casks Cognac Edition

Vital stats: Aged six years; mash bill of 75 percent corn, 21 percent rye, 4 percent malted barley. Finished in Cognac casks.

Appearance: The red of an Irish setter in its prime.

Nose: The nose is a little more typically bourbon-esque. It is also light and a little floral and leathery. Old library books and unaired library time.

Palate: This unusual. A strange mix. I get snack mix: the kind with the tiny sesame batons and wasabi peas. There is both heat and spice but it’s like a horseradish heat, not a pepper heat. This is a little more muddied, like the blend is off somehow, or maybe it’s how long it’s aged? Should it be less, or more? It tasted unfinished, to me.

Rating: 2.5

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Carin Moonin

A decade ago, I traded a 5th floor walkup in Hoboken, NJ for a house in SE Portland and remain grateful for the swap. Portland’s a great whiskey town: It fits the weather and my general mood (even improves it sometimes). I enjoy exploring the many shades of brown liquor...