Widow Jane Distillery is an artisan distillery located in Brooklyn, New York. They take their name from the fact that the distillery trucks in water from the Widow Jane mine in upper New York state to use in their whiskey production. They are distilling whiskeys and aging them, but these are still young whiskeys maturing in warehouses. What they are bottling today consists of aged whiskeys sourced from a variety of places located in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee. They have some special barrels that are 15 and 17 years old maturing in their warehouses, and every year, they bottle some of these barrels under a special label called “The Vaults”.
The Vaults consists of whiskeys that are 15 and 17 years old, finished in barrels that were made with staves that were air dried for five years before the barrel was made, and reduced to proof using the water from the Widow Jane mine. This bottle is from batch 1 of 2020, bottle number 1859. I do find that this whiskey needs a little more time to open up, so let it stand for about five minutes for full enjoyment.
Widow Jane The Vaults
Age: 15 Years Old
Nose: Very complex. Starts with caramel and a hint of dark chocolate, with some dates and dried apricot fruitiness, rich pipe tobacco, a little baking spice and oak wood.
Taste: Caramel, dried fruits – dates and apricots, baking spices – allspice with a hint of ginger and white pepper, and sweet oak wood with only a hint of bitter tannins. When tasted with a dried cranberry, the spices are muted while the caramel and vanilla become stronger with the dried fruits giving it a very brandy-like flavor. When tasted with a pecan, a note of citrus comes forward and the dried fruits are stronger. There is less caramel and vanilla but the baking spices and oak are still major flavors.
Finish: Long and dry with oak wood, baking spice and aromatic tobacco. With the dried cranberry, the spice comes back in the finish making for a long spicy finish with some oak and a hint of tobacco. The pecan makes the finish very long and a little less dry as the tobacco notes are enhanced and linger longer beside the oak and spice.
This is a Bourbon that needs a good cigar to pair with it as an after dinner drink and smoke. I would go with a Jaime Garcia Maduro cigar with its notes of caramel and chocolate and cedar spice in the smoke that would complement the Bourbon’s sweet notes and spices.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller
January 6, 2021 at 1:55 pm
A recent court filing in answer to a suit brought by consumers claiming that Widow Jane was NOT using water from the Widow Jane Mine effectively said that the basis of the suit was correct, Widow Jane does not use water from the mine even though their label claims that they do. The lawsuit failed because the courts thought that a reasonable consumer was not being lied to because limestone water was being used in distillation from somewhere. It is in anyone’s book, false advertising and perhaps your blog should qualify.
January 6, 2021 at 2:35 pm
Hi William – Kyle from Widow Jane here. Admittedly, in the earliest days of our brand under its original owner, there was some regrettable lack of clarity and transparency in the provenance of our water. Ever since Widow Jane became part of the Samson & Surrey family of craft brands in 2017, we have worked incredibly hard to make sure the record has been corrected. While our name is inspired by the Widow Jane mine in Rosendale, NY, and the many great stories that are part of the local Rosendale mythos surrounding this iconic place, our water is drawn from our own contracted and sealed access point to the Rosendale limestone aquifer, a few hundred feet around the limestone deposit from the mine proper in Rosendale. At no point in any of our labels do we claim the water is from the Widow Jane mine proper. As this is a publicly accessible entrance, we could not guarantee the purity and quality control we would need to use that water, even if we wanted to. I would post images from our labels to back up my statement if WordPress would allow, but since I can’t here, anyone can investigate for themselves by reading our labels at their local bottle shop, or scans from label images available via Google Images or similar. We have a strong relationship with the people of Rosendale, and are incredibly proud to share the story of how we take the time and make the investment of trucking this incredible hard-yet-sweet, mineral-rich water 90 miles to our home in Red Hook, NY to help give Widow Jane bourbon and rye the incredible intensity, depth, and complexity our whiskeys possess.