Alan Bishop, the distiller at the Spirits of French Lick Distillery, is well known for his innovations in mash bill. He often uses heritage grains and beer malts to make his whiskey. Bishop also is known to use unusual grains such as oats and buckwheat to make whiskey. The Lee W. Sinclair Four Grain Bourbon is an innovative Bourbon. Most distillers when making four grain Bourbons use corn, rye, wheat and malted barley. Not Alan Bishop. The Lee W. Sinclair uses corn, wheat, oats, and malted barley. I would not be surprised if some of the malted barley is a beer malt. Maybe even two beer malts, as well as the distiller malts. The whiskey is double pot still distilled and I am willing to bet, with a low barrel entry proof. This is a small batch Bourbon made from barrel numbers 75, 295, and 296 and bottled at cask strength.
This Bourbon is part of the “Iconoclast Series” of products being made at the Spirits of French Lick Distillery. The brands in this series are named for Indiana distillers and influencers from the past. Lee W. Sinclair was known for his work at the West Baden Springs dome and hotel. His investment saved the hotel from ruin and helped rebuild the economy in the town. He was a banker and store owner and a well-known judge of good whiskey. I think he would be proud of the Bourbon that bears his name today.
Lee W. Sinclair Four Grain Bourbon
- Mike: Brown sugar and dried fruits – prunes and dates, some sweet oak wood and a hint of baking spices.
- Matt: Brown sugar and molasses with some prunes and oak and a hint of spice.
- Mike: Brown sugar, spice – floral white pepper and cinnamon with dried dates and oak. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the fruit becomes more of a raisin instead of dates and the sweetness is reduced and the spice is dominated by white pepper. Tasted with a pecan and the sweetness becomes a French vanilla and marshmallow sweetness.
- Matt: Brown sugar, prunes, white pepper and cinnamon. The dried cranberry makes the fruit a raisin and vanilla note that mellows into sweet oak and vanilla. The pecan brought out the vanilla and a toasted pine nut flavor with oak in the background.
- Mike: Long and dry with oak tannins and white pepper spice. The dried cranberry shortened the finish and made it sweeter with more pepper than oak. The pecan made the finish a bit sweeter with lingering vanilla and sweet oak wood.
- Matt: Long with white pepper and oak tannins. The dried cranberry added a note of old, fine leather to the finish. The pecan made the finish spicy with black pepper and cinnamon with some sweet oak wood.
I would pair this whiskey with a good pipe tobacco – something that has a bit of the old leather and spice notes in the smoke. I would recommend a Peterson “Nightcap” pipe tobacco with its mixture of Latakia and Perique tobaccos.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller