The Craft Side Of Bourbon

The Craft Side Of Bourbon

Watch yourself Kentucky!


7.6/10
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The Craft Side of Bourbon
 
Age ain’t nothing but a number. Just take a gander at the new Bourbons storming the shores of Lake Michigan. With all due respect to their elders (we’re looking at you, Kentucky), these young whippersnappers have their own way of doing things and aren’t afraid of experimentation and getting a bit crazy with their craft. Kind of like that one night during your freshman year of college. You know the one. 
 
Okay, you’re giving us that look. “Lake Michigan?” We know, we know… Kentucky gets all the love when it comes to any serious discussion on Bourbon. After all, the corn-based Whiskey’s name was derived from Bourbon County in Kentucky, where it’s been produced since the 18th century.
 
But there’s a new craft side of Bourbon that’s picking up steam, particularly to the north. The three distilleries being featured in your Tasting Box opened their doors around Lake Michigan after Prohibition, making them the new kids on the Whiskey block. Now remember: all Bourbons are Whiskey, but not all Whiskeys are Bourbon. (We’ll get into that a bit more in the Smartass Corner.)
 
The three young’uns featured in your Box are a precocious lot, with a preference for locally-sourced ingredients and a rambunctious streak that results in new expressions and out-of-the-box innovation. You’ve got Koval, a Gold Medalist overachiever sort, with the sweetness of an apricot custard and a peppery caramel finish. Then there’s FEW, the spicy smooth talker of the bunch and finally Journeyman’s Featherbone, a spirited and adventurous dram. 
 
Watch yourself Kentucky, the boys from the north mean business.
 
Now let’s throw back a tumbler and toast to youth!
 
SmartAss Corner:
 
1. Time to make good on our word. Here’s what separates Bourbon from the rest of the Whiskeys:
- It must be made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn.
- It must be distilled to no more than 80% ABV and entered into the barrel for aging at no more than 62.5% ABV.
- It must be matured in new and charred oak barrels.
- It must be matured, if only briefly. If a bottle does not bear an age it is at least 4 years old. If it has been aged for a minimum of 2 years and does not have added coloring, flavoring or other spirits, it may be called straight Bourbon.
- Bourbon that has an age state on its label must be labeled with the age of the youngest Whiskey in the bottle.
- It must be bottled at 40% alc. or more.
 
2. Koval is the first distillery in Chicago since the mid-1800s. In Yiddish, “Koval” means “black sheep” or someone who does something new or out of the ordinary. Baaaa on, baby.
 
3. Evanston, Illinois, the home of the Temperance Movement, remained dry for over a century. You can thank the master distiller at FEW for overturning those laws to become the city’s first distiller of grain spirits.
 
4. EK Warren was the original builder of the factory housing Journeyman Distillery. An interesting twist to the factory’s history: Mr. Warren was a staunch Prohibitionist.
 
5. The craft Bourbon boom is very real. The number of craft distilleries in the US exploded from around 50 ten years ago to well over thousand in 2016.
 
6. Surprising Prohibition fact: Although it was illegal to make alcohol, people weren’t barred from consuming it. Patients could still legally buy liquor from the pharmacy or their doctor to cure whatever ailed them.
 
7. The Green Mill, a prohibition-era speakeasy and jazz club in Chicago, is still open today. Al Capone was a big fan.

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Flavor Spiral™

About The Flavor Spiral

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The Flavor Spiral™ is a quick, clear and visually-appealing way to look at the drink's flavor DNA.

It's tasting notes reinvented. The Flavor Spiral™ is a unique and revolutionary way of describing flavors. It was developed by Flaviar tasting panel, industry experts, and You, our dear Flaviar community member.

Your favourite drinks like never before. It could easily be an art form, but that's a conversation for another day.
Dog Dogson
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Smartass
Corner
Bourbon was designated "The Official Spirit of America" by an Act of Congress signed by President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

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Ratings & Reviews
Member Reviews and Ratings of The Craft Side Of Bourbon
Matthew
Matthew,
Not bad, not great either
 
Clint
Clint,
This is a great tester set if you like exploring new bourbons!!
 
Justin
Justin,
Absolutely three of the worst Bourbons to ever pass across my palate. The tobacco flavor was so forward that it was overwhelming and I expect a slight amount of char to come through but the amount coming through in the Koval and the journeyman wer overpowering the other flavors. I was expecting to really like the few as it was supposed to have a large caramel hint but I never detected that flavoring at all. All in all I am glad this was a tasting instead of purchasing the full-size bottles just to gift them to someone I don't like or throw them out.
 
Chris
Chris,
I wasn't a big fan of Journeyman, a bit musty and sharp for me. Few was ok, almost a bit "scotchy" to be a bourbon but I still enjoyed it. The Koval was my clear favorite though which surprised me, but it tasted the most like a bourbon with a smooth finish that made me want more. Great variety.
 
Adrienne
Adrienne,
Liked Koval the best; was disappointed with Few (the one I looked forward to the most). Journeyman was OK. This sampler was a good way to try some new bourbon.
 
Johnathon
Johnathon,
Few was the best, I didn’t care for the other two, but is was a good place to start.
 
Teeratorn
Teeratorn,
I like B the most.
 
Cory
Cory,
Loved the selection. Smooth
 
Michael
Michael,
Great samples! All are smooth tasting with completely different finishes.
 
Curtis
Curtis,
The Koval was good but not great. I really liked Few and Journeyman. I was surprised by how much I liked Few based on the other reviews. I really enjoyed the way the various flavors hit and Journeyman is just a solid whiskey that fits my preferences well.
 
Taylor
Taylor,
I do the tasting blind. I was all set on a bottle of Few for the next round. And then...... Journeyman!! Wow. Neat all day. Just a smooth smooth delicious flavor. Kind of like if you’re eating dulce de leche cake and someone walks by smoking exotic pipe tobacco. Something to look forward to at the end of the day. I have never been a “drinker“. Widowed and working full time with 10 kids and foster babies . 🤷🏼‍♀️ Bought a membership for my dad and then got one so we could try stuff and talk about it. Now it’s like a thing for me. I have a very full life and it’s an easy thing to squeeze in that i enjoy. Out of the nine tasters I’ve sampled, this one is tied for the best.
 
Ryan
Ryan,
This was my first tasting box. My wife (not a whiskey drinker) partook as well. We agreed the Koval was our favorite in the bunch, then Journeyman, with Few being a distant third. My wife's notes on the Few was "smells like burnt ass". I got licorice, so pretty much the same. Few was the most complex, but I may just not be a huge rye fan. I liked it more than my wife did, but wouldn't buy it. Koval was the sweetest on the nose (cocoa and carmel) and finish (smooth vanilla, woody) with a full, creamy mouth-feel. Journeyman had a citrus/fruity nose with cloves. Similar mouth-feel to Koval, and a woody citrus finish. Few had an almost oily mouth-feel with a shorter finish that was herbal
 
Richard
Richard,
Loved what i thought I wouldn’t. Favorite was Journeyman, second was Koval (which I didn’t think I’d like). Few smells great and the taste wasn’t bad.
 
Michael
Michael,
Few was really good, very complex but not in a bad way. Journeyman was good you could feel the spicy. Koval nicely put together. Overall very nicely done
 
Duncan
Duncan,
All around not my favorite. Definitely an exploratory group of bourbons but not classical in any sense.
 
DUELLYN
DUELLYN,
Excellent variety #1 Journeyman Fratherbone wins out smooth easy on palate. #2 is FEW nice caramels not spicy on the finish %3 Koval single barre1 strong finish.
 
Christopher
Christopher,
Very drinkable set with the flavor spirals right on
 
Santiago
Santiago,
I can't say that I was a fan of Koval at all. Journey was nice but the biggest surprise has to be Few. It was a very full bodied, smooth, and made me want to have more.
 
Joshua
Joshua,
Journey and the Few are my two picks from this one. Koval was to dry for my taste
 
David
David,
The very forward clove in the Few was the most surprising and alluring, but the cozy & warm sweetness of the Koval won me over.
 
Lindsay
Lindsay,
All were tasty, and I’d purchase two out of three - I call that a win!
 
Frank
Frank,
Interesting flavors in this one, but not enough for me to buy a bottle of any of them.
 
Ron
Ron,
Really great balance. Enjoyed each very much.
 
Joshua
Joshua,
It was a fun ride.
 
Jose
Jose,
Amazing combination of flavors
 
Jaime
Jaime,
Interesting flavors, enjoyed the Koval
 
Beth
Beth,
I was surprised at how good they were. Few was very caramel forward and I couldn’t decide which was my favorite between few and Journeyman The koval was my least favorite. It was a little heavy on the rye.
 
Sunil
Sunil,
Didn't live it. A lil too smokey and not a great finish.
 
Sunil
Sunil,
Not great, but doesn't go mad terribly. Not a lot of depth to it, but it's passable
 
Lauren
Lauren,
It’s a fun tasting package but I probably wouldn’t get any of the bottles now that I’ve tasted them.
 
Thomas
Thomas,
This was an interesting tasting. I’m glad I got to try. Very different stuff. The Koval was better than I expected given a 7.0 rating at the time I tried it. It was smooth, fruity, and just unique. In a bit surprised how much I liked it considering the fruity bite. It was like a weird Blade & Bow. The FEW was straight cinnamon from the nose on. Amazing, unique nose. Pretty decent flavor with a fair mouthfeel. The finish was thinner and not as smooth and sweet as you’d hope it’s open up to. The Journeyman was absolute trash. My wife has never seen me straight up toss a whiskey out. First for everything.
 
Gabe
Gabe,
Really enjoyed these whiskeys. Great to taste some quality whiskeys and experience the subtle nuances.
 
Bhavesh
Bhavesh,
Amazing bourbon collection. Loved all three of them!
 
Ryan
Ryan,
Really enjoyed this tasting, some unique American whiskeys I might not have otherwise tried.
 
William
William,
The box as a whole is 9/10 but I loved two of the three so much, one in particular (Koval) was so unique I ended up ordering a whole bottle using my quarterly free shipping credit at a decent price.
 
Ryan
Ryan,
2/3 of the tastings were great! the third was a solid okay.
 
Mike
Mike,
Awesome box, great flavors. Perfect showcase of the products coming from the Chicago area and the Midwest
 
James
James,
This was my first tasting box and it made for a great experience. These bourbons were all great, even my wife who isn’t a whiskey drinker enjoyed them and the experience. That alone earns this box a high rating from me!
 
Kelly
Kelly,
Very good and interesting. They were each very different and had good characteristics. I would give it an 8.2.
 
Nicholas
Nicholas,
All three were very smooth with a perfect finish. Highly suggested.
 
Phillip
Phillip,
Koval is outstanding!!! All of these have a great taste
 
Hector
Hector,
Few was a good choice, as was Koval. Journeyman was OK
 
Chad
Chad,
Very smooth and enjoyable drink
 
Paul
Paul,
7/10 for the set; Few was really good, Joirneryman not so much. koval is decent. Good sampling overall.
 
Antti
Antti,
a very good sampling of Bourbon
 
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