Whiskey Review: Thunder Road Distillery Butcher's Bourbon - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Thunder Road Distillery Butcher’s Bourbon

Thunder Road Distillery Butcher's Bourbon

image via Zach Brauenstein/The Whiskey Wash

There’s a romantic history linking Appalachia and whiskey. Bootleggers, whiskey runners, and hidden back-country moonshine operations are now tied up with the lore of the land. And for every new distillery that makes its home in Tennessee or Kentucky, one can’t help but remember the hundreds of illegal operations that scattered the countryside in the early half of the 20th century. The 1958 film Thunder Road, which tells the story of a family bootleg business, is just a single example of how that underground way of life has been celebrated in media.

Taking its name from the above cult-classic film, and taking pride in the whiskey history that runs through that part of the country, Tennessee’s Thunder Road Distillery offers a full range of craft liquor (though, unlike the characters in their namesake film, they do it legally). In addition to the more common distillery offerings of rum, vodka, gin, corn whiskey and rye, they also sell cornmeal based moonshine in a variety of flavors (bottled in mason jars, of course). Their newest addition is their Butcher’s Bourbon, a single barrel bourbon whiskey aged for 8 years.

I spoke to one of their employees over the phone, and they explained that they sourced the whiskey from out of town (Kentucky… she thinks), because their distillery hasn’t been around long enough to age anything for eight years. But she assured me that they bought the entire batch. So, in her words, “once it’s gone, it’s gone!”

Tasting Notes: Thunder Road Distillery’s Butcher’s Bourbon

Vital Stats: Thunder Road Distillery’s Butcher’s Bourbon is a 92 proof single-barrel offering that has been aged for 8 years. The bourbon comes in a 750 ml bottle, and retails for $49.99.

Appearance: In the glass it’s a canary-gold, with thin, slow legs.

Nose: It has a pleasant nose, a mixture of crab apple, oiled machinery, and cinnamon.

Palate: An interesting series of flavors… With the first sip: it starts with a sharp, smokey bite in the back of the tongue, which quickly gives way to a birch-wood wisp of an aftertaste. That, too, fades away, and then – just when you think you’re done – rises up again with a peach-tangy mid-throat prick that leaves behind a mild lingering sweetness. Quite the flavor roller coaster!

Subsequent drams are less varied, giving a sharp (but not too sharp) smokiness that fades to a burnt-molasses aftertaste.

Final Thoughts & Score:

Score: 79/100

Once you look beyond uninspiring bottling and design, and once you get past the fact that Thunder Road so thoroughly hides the detail that they don’t distill the bourbon themselves, you’re left with an enjoyable – if not spectacular – drink. At around $50, however, this whiskey is heavily outclassed by a large number of others in lower price ranges.