I picked up this bottle on a trip to Breckinridge, Colorado a couple of years ago and have been working on it slowly and sharing it with others who have never heard of it. Today, I decided to jot down some notes and actively work to empty the bottle in order to make room for more stuff. Cedar Ridge claims that this is the first bourbon to be produced in Iowa and it’s even distilled there, not sourced like Breckinridge Bourbon (and so many others). It’s a single barrel offering and this is bottle 267 from barrel 189 (can’t find a bottling date or age).
The nose is minty with hints of vanilla, caramel, barrel char and sweet corn. At only 40% ABV, there’s still a good bit of alcohol burn and you’ll have to work to get past that to smell the fresh-cut cedar, but it’s worth it. It’s different, but I like it.
The whiskey hits the palate with vanilla, sweet corn, wintergreen and develops a spicy bite before finishing with a mildly woody alcohol burn at the back of the throat. There are further notes of cardboard, powdered lemon drop, bitter honey, white pepper, black pepper and a hint of persimmon. The finish mostly lingers in the back of the throat with mild tannins, remnants of mint and a good burn. It’s not a bad drink, but it’s lacking any kind of balance and comes across more like a minty rye whiskey than a bourbon after you get past the brief entrance.
For me it was worth the admission just to try an Iowa bourbon, but I’m done with it. It doesn’t really stand on its own merit even at $38. Get a bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel instead and you’ll discover how something like this should really be executed.