Before Prohibition, Owensboro, Kentucky was a major center of distilling in Kentucky. Even after Repeal, there were several distilleries that came back to the region. Two of the distilleries and brands associated with the city itself are Green River and Daviess County distilleries.
Green River was the most advertised whiskey in the United States before Prohibition. The brand disappeared from the market during Prohibition because a fire at the distillery destroyed the aging stocks of whiskey in 1918. After Prohibition, the brand was revived, but never reached the same success it enjoyed before Prohibition. The brand was no longer made in Owensboro and became a regional brand for Schenley. The original Green River Distillery became the Medley Distillery in Owensboro and made such brands as Ezra Brooks and Medley Bros.
Fast forward to the 21st century and the Green River brand is once again being made at the original Green River Distillery in Owensboro. The new owners of the brand and the distillery are on schedule to release the brand into the market in early 2021. They have provided me with a sample of the whiskey they are planning on releasing early next year at an age of 3 years and 9 months old. The distiller making this whiskey is Jacob Call and the sample is bottled at 117 proof. This indicates to me that he is using a barrel entry proof that is less than the 125 maximum. The mash bill is 70% corn, 21% rye and 9% malted barley.
Daviess County Distillery was in the same general area as the Green River Distillery, just west of the town of Owensboro. They were distilling there for many years after repeal and made Fleischmann’s whiskeys as well as Daviess County Bourbon. They closed down production in the late 20th century and the Daviess County brand pretty much died out. Luxco has just recently revived the old label. The whiskey is probably sourced whiskey for now but will soon be made at the Luxrow Distillery in Bardstown. The brand is a marriage of a traditional Bourbon made with rye and a Bourbon made with wheat.
Green River Bourbon
Age: 3 Years, 9 Months
Nose: Corn, vanilla / cotton candy with some floral / herbal notes that hint of mint and flowers.
Taste: Corn and vanilla with lots of mint and a hint of sweet oak sawdust, not bitter tannins. When tasted with a dried cranberry, the mint is toned down and fruit notes of apples and pears come forward. When tasted with a pecan, a citrus note comes out with a little more sweet oak.
Finish: Very long and minty with only a hint of oak wood. The cranberry adds a little more sweetness but it is still very minty. The pecan makes the finish drier with oak wood and mint.
I would pair this whiskey with a mild cigar such as a Nat Sherman Metropolitan. The whiskey is so minty that you want a light tobacco flavor that will not clash harshly with the whiskey.
Daviess County Bourbon
Age: No Age Statement
Nose: French vanilla, a little berry fruit and oak.
Taste: Vanilla and corn, a little raspberry and white pepper and some oak tannins. When tasted with a dried cranberry, the pepper flavor is reduced and the oak wood moves forward. When tasted with a pecan, the vanilla flavor and oak become the dominant flavors.
Finish: Medium long with oak and white pepper. The dried cranberry added some sweetness up front but it still dried out with oak and white pepper. The pecan made the finish longer and enhanced the oak.I would pair this Bourbon with a Nub Maduro cigar. I think the earthy tobacco and a hint of chocolate in the smoke would enhance some of the sweetness of the Bourbon.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller