I first met Heather Greene when she was in Kentucky researching her book Whisk(e)y Distilled. Heather was working in New York at the Flatiron Room as their whiskey sommelier and I did some programs there when I visited New York. Heather has since moved to Texas and is the “Greene” in Milam and Greene. I have not met Marsha Milam, but I hope to do so the next time I go to Texas. This pair of talented ladies formed Milam and Greene and then started to build a distillery. They hired Marlene Holmes from Jim Beam as their distiller and started to make whiskey. As with most new distilleries, they started by sourcing some barrels of whiskey and contract distilling some more barrels in Kentucky while they built their distillery and started distilling in Texas. Heather Greene has an excellent palate so I am sure the sourced whiskey was all very good whiskey and Marlene Holmes has a wealth of experience distilling at Beam and knows what she is doing, whether working in Kentucky contract distilling whiskey or in Texas at the new distillery.
The first Bourbon Matt and I tasted shows Heather Greene’s talent as a Master Blender. The Triple Cask Bourbon has Bourbons made in Texas and in Kentucky under their watchful eyes and some Bourbon sourced from Tennessee. Heather has created a very good whiskey by marrying barrels from these three sources. The second bottle shows Marlene Holmes’ skill as a distiller, as it is a cask strength Bourbon made in Texas by Holmes. Matt and I enjoyed them both very much, but we did think the cask strength Bourbon was the better of the two. This company has a bright future as long as they keep up this quality in their whiskey.
Milam and Greene Triple Cask Bourbon
Age: No Age Statement
- Mike: Caramel and fruit – apples with a hint of orange zest, a little corn husk and baking spices and a hint of white pepper and sweet oak wood.
- Matt: A hint of grassiness with caramel, nutmeg and cherries with a little oak wood.
- Mike: Cornhusk with vanilla and apples, orange zest, white pepper and sweet oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the corn and white pepper come forward. Tasted with a pecan the vanilla and oak comes forward.
- Matt: Caramel and cotton candy with notes of cherry and oak. The dried cranberry enhanced the cherries with notes of vanilla and caramel. The pecan made the taste nutty with oats and honey.
- Mike: Long with sweet oak, white pepper and lingering fruit notes. The dried cranberry made the finish more peppery. The pecan enhanced the oak with only a hint of white pepper.
- Matt: Spicy with red hot candy cinnamon and oak. The dried cranberry lightened the spice and added notes of vanilla and honey. The pecan added cayenne pepper spice and enhanced the oak.
Milam and Greene Cask Strength Bourbon
Age: No Age Statement
- Mike: Caramel and fruit – pears and ripe apples, with some baking spices and oak wood.
- Matt: Chocolate with a floral note of roses, nutmeg spice and oak wood.
- Mike: Caramel and baking spices – cardamom and allspice with ripe apples and oak. The dried cranberry enhanced the caramel and apple notes and added some cinnamon spice. The pecan added a note of white pepper spice.
- Matt: Cocoa, cinnamon and raspberries with a little oak wood. The dried cranberry added a little nutmeg to the spices. The pecan added some buttered popcorn and cocoa flavors.
- Mike: Medium long with oak and spice with some lingering apple fruit notes. The dried cranberry added a little cinnamon spice to the finish. The pecan added more of the lingering apple fruit.
- Matt: A hot pepper finish with notes of leather and tobacco. The dried cranberry made the finish peppery with tobacco and a spice that might be a celery salt. The pecan made the finish very peppery and hot spicy with oak, tobacco and leather.
I would pair these two fine Bourbons with a cigar that has earthy tobacco notes with a little vanilla and cedar spice. I would reach for a NUB maduro cigar.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller