Few Spirits was founded in 2011 in Evanston, Illinois by Paul Hletko. Evanston was a center of the temperance movement and Francis Elizabeth Willard was the leader of the movement in Evanston. It was not until the 1990s that it became legal to sell alcohol in Evanston. Hletko went further and got the laws changed to allow him to open a distillery in the city. He decided to name the company FEW spirits, taking the initials of Willard to create the name.
I have not been to the Few Distillery in Evanston, Illinois, but I did meet Paul Hletko back in 2013 when Marty Duffy and I went to a tasting of local spirits in Chicago. I was teaching a Filson Bourbon Academy. I was impressed with their whiskey then although it was still young – they had only been distilling a year or so when I met Paul, but it was good solid whiskey. Since then, Few Spirits has become a popular artisan brand, not only in their local market, but across the United States and even overseas. The British Bourbon Society has acquired a couple of selections from Few Spirits, so I have seen the brand in London. It is my plan to get back to Chicago within the next year and Few Spirits is top on my list for places to visit.
This bottle is young. It has an age statement of 1 year old, however I think the whiskey is older than a year. It is a traditional Bourbon made with corn, rye and malt, but the label does not say more than it is aged in new charred barrels. I suspect a lower barrel entry proof because it does have more sweetness from the barrel than you would expect for a young Bourbon.
Few Bourbon Batch 18A18
Age: 1 Year Old
Nose: Corn and vanilla with banana nut bread and a hint of oak.
Taste: Corn and vanilla with a floral rose water note. White pepper and oak round out the flavor. Tasted with a dried cranberry removes the floral notes and turns the white pepper to baking spices of cinnamon and cardamom. Tasted with a pecan and the fruit comes forward with banana and citrus notes joining the other flavors.
Finish: Medium long with pepper and just a hint of oak. The cranberry made the finish shorter and the pepper stronger. The pecan lengthened the finish and added a little more oak to the finish.I thought I would pair this Bourbon with a Perdomo Reserve Champagne Noir Maduro cigar. I find the smoke very robust with rich notes of tobacco and cedar spiciness that I hope will help bring out some additional flavors in the Bourbon. The Bourbon did not do anything for the smoke as the flavors of the cigar overpowered the Bourbon. However, the smoke did bring out that citrus note, particularly in the finish. The cigar did more for the Bourbon than the Bourbon did for the cigar. This was not a well-balanced pairing.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller