Jason Brauner, co-owner of Bourbons Bistro, has had a dream to make his own Bourbon for about two decades. He gathered some other investors together and created the Buzzard’s Roost Rye label by sourcing some whiskey from MGP. It gets its name from Buzzard’s Roost in Shelby County, Kentucky. They are hoping to get some land and build a distillery near this small town.
Jason has an excellent palate. I have not met the other partners in this venture, but I do believe that they are wise enough to let Jason take the lead in picking the whiskey for their barrels. So far it has been very good whiskey – young, but very good. They recently sent me two sample bottles of their latest expressions. One is called Very Small Batch and the other is a barrel proof. I am not sure what a “very small batch” consists of, but I am willing to bet that it is 5 barrels or less. Being that this venture is a small operation, at least compared to the big companies, they do not have a huge inventory of barrels. That means the focus is on quality over quantity. I hope they succeed in selling enough of this whiskey to raise the money for their distillery, as I think that quality will always be the focus.
I am pairing these two samples with an E.P. Carrillo “Rebel Rebellious” cigar that I picked up the other day at The Office Cigar Lounge, in Floyd’s Knobs, Indiana. The owner, Tom Uhl, suggested that this cigar would pair well with whiskey because of its light cocoa notes and cedar spiciness. I think this is a good time to see if Tom is correct.
Buzzard’s Roost Very Small Batch Rye
Age: 3 Years Old
Nose: A very thin nose with vanilla, rye grass and some hints of baking spice and oak.
Taste: Rye grassiness with that vanilla up front, some citrus fruit, baking spice and oak. When tasted with a dried cranberry and the vanilla becomes stronger and the citrus become more of a tart green apple with a hint of lemon. When tasted with a pecan the citrus become very pronounced with lemon zest, a little hint of tangy orange and some ginger spice.
Finish: Medium long with some sweet oak and baking spice. The dried cranberry makes the finish shorter and it is dominated by the tart green apple with just a hint of oak. The pecan made the finish longer with lots of oak and a hint of candied ginger.
The cigar paired well with this rye. The rye brought out more cocoa and an earthy tobacco note in the smoke. The smoke enhanced the rye grassiness of the rye and made the finish very tangy with lots of citrus notes and oak.
Buzzard’s Roost Barrel Proof Rye
Age: 3 Years Old
Nose: Rye grass, berries, vanilla, mint and a hint of oak.
Taste: Rye grass, vanilla, raspberries, mint and a hint of oak. When tasted with a dried cranberry it becomes very minty and grassy. When tasted with a pecan, the berries become more of an orange zest citrus and the oak becomes more pronounced.
Finish: Slightly dry with oak and mint. The cranberry made it sweeter with a lot of mint – spearmint gum in fact. The pecan made the finish very peppery and dry.
The cigar also paired well with this version of the rye. The rye brought out some dried fruit notes of prunes or raisins in the smoke and made the chocolate notes in the smoke a darker chocolate flavor. The smoke enhanced the raspberry and blackberry notes in the whiskey.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller