Wheated bourbon can be hit or miss for me. Sometimes it’s beautiful and complex. Otherwise, wheated bourbon can be a bit sweet and simplistic. In the case of Ragged Branch’s new wheated bourbon, it falls somewhere in-between.
A true farm-to-bottle venture, the Virginia-based farm distillery has distilled this whisky using grains grown on its land in a small copper pot still. And unlike a lot of craft distilleries, Ragged Branch has matured this 4-year-old wheated bourbon in full size, 53-gallon barrels instead of smaller ones.
Seeing as the distillery, founded in 2014, is only producing about a barrel a day, quality seems to be top-of-mind.
Dave Pickerell serves as the distillery’s Master Distiller, but he more or less keeps them on course a few times a year as he also oversees or consults with several other brands. Pickerell’s a busy guy. I’m a fan of most of his work, so I was excited to try this expression.
Bottled at 90 proof, Ragged Branch wheated bourbon comes from a mash bill of 66% corn, 17% wheat, and 17% malted barley. That’s a higher percentage of malt typically used in a bourbon. What does that mean for flavor? Let’s give it a taste.
The nose is pleasant, with a sweet corn and vanilla leading the way. There’s a slightly “green” grain note, but it’s mostly masked by a bit of spiced caramel and cinnamon. On the palate, loads of butterscotch and vanilla fade into a touch of spice, namely cinnamon sugar. That youngish grain note is also present here, but doesn’t hinder the tasting experience one bit. That big butterscotch note carries over into the medium length finish.
The small distillery should be proud of this release. Though it’s not terribly complex, it makes up with a rich and inviting butterscotch-led flavor profile. I find it nicely balanced – not too sweet, not too spicy. It does have a slightly young character, but doesn’t taste harsh. At the end of the day, Ragged Branch Distillery has crafted a nice sipping whiskey. Not too shabby for $49.99. 7/10
Thanks to Ragged Branch for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.