Limestone Branch Distillery

Minor Case Rye Whiskey Review

New from Limestone Branch Distillery is Minor Case Rye, a sherry cask-finished straight rye whiskey.  Though this is the first rye whiskey release from the modern iteration of the distillery, rye isn’t new to distillery president and distiller Stephen Beam’s family.

“My grandfather, Minor Case Beam, made rye whiskey in his day, before prohibition, which was his specialty. This rye whiskey is inspired by him and a tribute to his distilling legacy,” said Beam.  

Readers of this blog know I’m not a fan of really young rye whiskies.  This 90 proof whiskey is two years old – young.  The fact that it is sourced whiskey is perfectly fine.  But what sets this apart is taking that young sourced whiskey and finishing it in sherry casks.  Needless to say I’m curious to try.

The nose is vibrant, spicy and fruity.  Hints of caramel, dried fruits, rye spice and herbs jump out of the glass.  Taste wise, we’re talking light brown sugar, dried fruits, rye spice and a touch of oak.  The sweet fruity notes from the sherry casks round out the sharp rye notes.  The finish is long with spiced caramel, nuts and mint.

I am pleasantly surprised.  Both the rye and sherry characteristics work really well with each other.  It’s not too sweet or too spicy.  Very nicely done!  Not that it affects the score, but what an absolutely beautiful bottle that features the original logo that Minor Case Beam used on his labels.  8/10

Thanks to Limestone Banch Distillery for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.


Yellowstone 2016 Limited Edition Bourbon Review

This year’s limited edition of Yellowstone bourbon from Limestone Branch is a blend of 12-year and 7-year whiskies.  Both feature rye as the flavoring grain in their mashbill.  The blend was finished in new toasted wine barrels.  No, these aren’t used wine barrels.  They are brand new ones, so don’t expect any wine notes.  The 2016 release is bottled at 101 proof and retails for about $100.  It’s truly limited – only 7,000 bottles have been produced.  

“We used 28 new wine barrels with varying levels of toast – I was interested in how toasting versus charring would contribute to the bourbon,” says Steve Beam, president and distiller of Limestone Branch Distillery. “The result was a delightful nose that is full of vanilla, sweet tea and summer fruit with a hint of smoke.”

Let’s see how this year’s bottling tastes.  The nose features candied fruits, brown sugar, some baking spice and a touch of vanilla.  Taste-wise, we’re talking in initial sweet caramel blast, followed by waves of spice, chocolate covered cherries, and some smoky vanilla.  The long finish carries a little heat and some toffee chews.

This is an entirely new blend compared to last year’s, and it’s an improvement upon what was an already solid entry in the Yellowstone lineup.  Nicely done.  8.5/10

Thanks to Luxco and Limestone Branch Distillery for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Yellowstone Select Bourbon Review

Photo courtesy of Limestone Branch Distillery.

Photo courtesy of Limestone Branch Distillery.

The autumn of 2015 saw the release of a limited one-off bourbon from Limestone Branch Distillery (LBD) and Luxco.  LBD’s Steve Beam took aged stock Luxco-owned (and sourced) and blended a great-tasting bourbon.  Fast forward a few months to 2016, and the first permanent expression to the Yellowstone line, Yellowstone Select, hit store shelves.

Coming in at 93 proof, Yellowstone Select is a blend of 4 and 7-year-old sourced bourbon.  This is much younger stock than the 7 and 12-year-old stocks that made up the Yellowstone 2015 Limited Edition release.  That’s understandable, as Luxco probably owns much more younger whiskey than they do older whiskey.

The nose here is youngish, with a sweet fresh corn note standing first in line.  Official tasting/nosing notes mention leather and citrus and oak.  I don’t get any leather, especially for a bourbon this young.  However, there’s a citrus note here.  It’s the smell of a freshly cut ripe orange.  Oak is present, but it stays in the background.  While it still tastes a little young, Yellowstone Select does feature sweet ripe fruit alongside buttered corn, rye spice and a touch of vanilla.  Nice. A general spiciness creeps up towards the end of the palate.  The finish is sweet grain, rye spice, and a slightly bitter note.

Where I really enjoyed the 2015 Limited Edition of Yellowstone, I feel slightly disappointed with this new release.  I don’t know the proportions of the 4-year-old and 7-year-old stocks that make up this blend, but it smells and tastes like there’s a lot more of the younger whiskey here.  For a bourbon priced at $49.99, I expect a bit more complexity.  What’s in the bottle isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination.  It’s just a little overpriced.

(Note: A review sample was provided by Luxco.)