The David Nicholson brand was created by the David Sherman Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri, now Luxco. They were a wholesale liquor company purchasing whiskey from many different distilleries to create their own brands as well as representing many of the established brands in Missouri. After Prohibition, they formed a relationship with the Stitzel-Weller distillery, who sold them the whiskey for David Nicholson 1843 Bourbon.
Luxco has added this expression to the David Nicholson line of Bourbons. It has been a Bourbon made with wheat as the flavoring grain since that relationship was born. The archive at United Distillers had several bottles of this brand in their collection, some as old as 8 years old. They were still getting whiskey from Stitzel-Weller when the distillery shut down. I had an opportunity to taste some of this brand in the 1990s and I really enjoyed it, so I had to pick up a bottle of the David Nicholson Reserve 100 proof while visiting the Lux Row Distillery gift shop last year in Bardstown. I am glad I did.
David Nicholson Reserve Bourbon
Age: No Age Statement
Nose: A little sweet corn with lots of vanilla, apple, oak and maybe a smidgeon of hazelnut in the background.
Taste: Corn, lots of vanilla with a vague hint of milk chocolate, dates and cherries and a little cinnamon spice and oak. Tasted with a dried cranberry brings forward the dates, cherries and cinnamon flavors, forcing everything else into the background. Tasted with a pecan and the oak and vanilla but loses the fruit and the spice becomes more peppery.
Finish: Long and dry with oak and spice – cinnamon and white pepper. The cranberry brings out the cinnamon on the finish to the point it is like a cinnamon candy. The pecan makes the finish very long and dry, dominated by oak tannins and pepper.
I thought I would pair this Bourbon with a Fuente Opus X cigar. I find the smoke to have some barnyard earthiness of hay, rich tobacco and vanilla with a bit of cedar spiciness. The Bourbon made the smoke sweeter with notes of caramel and dried fruit. The smoke really brought forward that milk chocolate note and enhanced the cinnamon on the finish. I liked this pairing.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller