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Dread River Master Series Batch 2 Veteran’s Edition Bourbon




Whiskey Review: Dread River Master Series Batch 2 Veteran’s Edition Bourbon

Tasting Notes:

Aged in American oak for one year, followed by two years in French oak; distilled from a mash bill of 60 percent corn, 30 percent wheat, and 10 percent malted barley; bottled at 106 proof; priced at $106.99.
This has a really pleasant color scheme in glass with the prototypical golden amber reflections. The legs and viscosity are spot on as well.
There’s a heavy oak presence at first sniff, bringing along with it some vanilla, cinnamon, baked bread and clove. Letting this one open up a bit is a good idea.
Younger bourbon reflects heavily in this palate, with warmer notes of vanilla and oak juggling alongside some baked bread, cinnamon, apricot, baking spice, and sweet, hard apple candy.
This goes down hot, a bit dry, and somewhat spicy, not in the best combination I’d like. Still, it is not too bad, lingering and mellowing as it dwindles before the final fade.
There are things I like about this bourbon and things I’m not as dialed in on. There’s a little too much oak for my liking, but other emerging flavors at least mellow that out. As I mentioned before, this is one to let open up and breathe before you dig into it.

Editor’s Note: The party behind this whiskey gave us a review sample. Per our editorial policies, this in no way influenced the outcome of this review. 

Dread River Distilling, based in Birmingham, Alabama, has sought to put itself at the forefront of the distillery scene in its home state since its inception in 2019. An award-winning operation that distilled the first bourbon in Birmingham in over 100 years, one of its most recent releases, and the one I’m reviewing here today, was crafted in part by a veteran turned assistant distiller.

United States Air Force Master Sergeant Trey Bruner, a 20-year USAF Combat Controller veteran, transitioned from military service to civilian work via the Department of Defense’s Skill Bridge program, which connects transitioning service members with industry partners in real-world job experiences. He started learning the ropes of distillery life under the mentorship of Dread River head distiller Joshua Goins, who tasked him with barrel maturation management.

During the process of pulling samples for analysis, Bruner encountered what he felt was “a truly unique bourbon aging in a 60-gallon French oak cask.” He selected this single-cask bourbon to be the next Master Series, a particular line extension in Dread River’s growing portfolio of whiskeys.

For Dread River Master Series Batch 2 Veteran’s Edition Bourbon, the distillery transferred its flagship straight bourbon initially aged in American oak casks for one year into a 60-gallon French oak cask for an additional two years. Distilled from a mash bill of 60 percent corn, 30 percent wheat, and 10 percent malted barley, it was hand-bottled at cask strength, 106 proof, or 53% alcohol by volume.

This bourbon, which was offered last year on Veteran’s Day, is $106.99. Only 500 bottles were released.

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