This is the latest release from Southern Grace Distillery in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. Their distillers are the very talented Thomas Thacker and Sebastian Correa, but this whiskey was also one of the whiskeys the late Leanne Powell was involved in producing. Leanne was also a talented distiller and one of the founders of the distillery. Southern Grace is located in an old North Carolina State Prison. Thomas Thacker was doing consulting work when this barrel was made Sebastian and Leanne produced this particular barrel. The “1929” in the name comes from the fact that the whiskey was aged in a 1929 prison dormitory.
This is a two grain Bourbon. There is no flavoring grain such as rye or wheat. The Bourbon is made with 88% corn and 12% malted barley, and entered into the barrel at 101 proof. After one year, re-entered into a second, new, unused charred oak barrel. The total time in the barrel was two years and two months.
Southern Grace Distillery is a small batch production distillery by any definition you want to use for the term “small batch”. They make about a barrel a day in a pot still. They use 50-gallon drums as fermenters. It is a fine quality whiskey that sells well in North Carolina and that is why they don’t have an older release. It is hard to put barrels back for aging when you have bills to pay and people are purchasing your two-year-old Bourbon. I do know that Thomas has some barrels set aside for a four-year-old product, but not as many as he would have liked. When I visited the distillery, I saw about twenty barrels designated for older whiskey. I really like their two-year-old Bourbon, so I am going to have to find one of those rare bottles of four-year-old whiskey when Thomas finally bottles it.
Conviction Double Oak 1929 Straight Bourbon
Age: 2 Years Old
Nose: Very nice – like a fruit pie with vanilla, corn, apricots, baking spices – nutmeg and cinnamon and oak.
Taste: Sweet vanilla, apricots and baking spices – stronger on the cinnamon than nutmeg, with a little sweet oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the vanilla becomes more of a caramel flavor. Tasted with a pecan a note of dark chocolate comes out. I was thinking a dark hot chocolate with a sprinkle of cinnamon in it.
Finish: Long with some sweet oak wood and lots of cinnamon. The cranberry lowered the amount of cinnamon in the finish. The pecan brought out more oak and the cinnamon became more of a nutmeg spice. I am pairing this Bourbon with a Nub Maduro cigar. I like the Nub Maduro because of the vanilla, dried fruit and a hint of cedar spiciness of the smoke and I think it should compliment the Bourbon quite well. The Bourbon brought out that dried fruit sweetness in the smoke and enhanced the spiciness. The smoke added some creaminess to the mouth-feel of the Bourbon and tamed the cinnamon spice in the finish. It is a very good pairing that I will do as often as I can.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller