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Southern Star The Standard High Rye Straight Bourbon Whiskey




Whiskey Review: Southern Star The Standard High Rye Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Tasting Notes:

Bourbon is distilled from 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley and aged at least two years in new American oak before bottling at 45% ABV. $ 43.
You see what you get with a very prototypical amber-golden color in glass matched with moderate legs and viscosity.
It is very much a high-rye style bourbon on the nose, reflecting those subtle vanilla and black pepper aromatics one would expect. This is joined by a dash of oak, a little bit of baking bread, sour apple, some leather, and some caramel.
This plays stronger to the palate’s sweet vs spicy side, dropping more vanilla and caramel considerings than black pepper and coriander. Beyond that, it is pretty muted, with some notes of oak, dried cherries, toffee, and a hint of shitake mushroom.
This drifts on the finish, ending with a quiet thud on the back throat as it fades out quickly.
If you’re looking for complexity from this bourbon, move on. It isn’t really designed with that in mind, seemingly. It is a decent entry point for the Southern Distilling Company’s whiskeys, but otherwise, it doesn’t really stand out in any particular way.
Southern Star The Standard High Rye Straight Bourbon Whiskey review
We review Southern Star The Standard High Rye Straight Bourbon Whiskey, distilled in North Carolina from a mash bill of 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley. (image via Southern Distilling Company)

Editor’s Note: We received a review sample of this whiskey from the brand. However, in accordance with our editorial policies, this has not influenced the outcome of our review in any way.

North Carolina has long been known as a state with some of the strictest spirit laws. It was one of the first southern states to enter Prohibition on May 26, 1908 (more than a decade earlier than most states). An entire industry there was seriously impacted when things went wrong, particularly in Statesville, which was known pre-Prohibition as the ‘Liquor Capital of the World’ due to the numerous distilleries in the area.

Fast-forward many years to 2013, and, in Statesville, Southern Distilling Company, founded by Pete and Vienna Barger, is doing its part to highlight NC’s long—and sometimes overlooked—history in whiskey making. Vienna, in particular, takes an active role in the legislative process, impacting and innovating the laws governing the industry across the state, such as bringing liquor sales on Sundays in North Carolina and giving distillers the right to sell bottles in tasting rooms.

While these attempts have been ongoing to shake off the residuals of Prohibition in North Carolina, the distillery team at Southern Distilling Company has been busy with a wide range of whiskeys. It partners with local farms to source grains for their whiskey and, in turn, in a nod to sustainability, sends the spent grain from the distilling process back to farms to help feed livestock.

The distillery sits on 20 acres of historic agricultural farmland, framed by a 30,000-square-foot modern, two-story glass-fronted distillery.

What’s in the bottle

The whiskey being reviewed here is from Southern Distilling Company. Southern Star The Standard High Rye Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a standard part of the distillery’s High Rye collection. Distilled from a mash bill of 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley, it is aged at least two years in new American oak before being bottled at 45% ABV.

The average pricing of this bourbon was around $43 when this review was published.

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.

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