The McCormick Distillery in Weston, Missouri has added a new brand name and distillery called Ben Holladay and started making Bourbon again for the first time in about thirty years. In the late 1980s the distillery stopped making Bourbon as the then owners had purchased a distillery in Illinois and started making their Bourbon there. That was a big mistake. The Weston distillery made good bourbon, but is small and the Illinois distillery could make larger quantities, however, the quality of the Illinois Bourbon was poor. The result was McCormick earned a reputation for making inferior whiskey.
McCormick quit making whiskey by the 21st century. New owners and management has brought a new name, a new label and a dedication to making really good Bourbon which will change their image from that of the 1990s. This new chapter began over six years ago when they started distilling whiskey in Weston again.
They waited six years to make sure the Bourbon had the flavor profile they wanted. They use the old mash bill and yeast and consulted with many older employees who remembered how it was made in the good old days. They hired a young and talented distiller to make their whiskey and designed a label with a 1950s look with a bottle with a screw cap – all part of paying homage to the original Bourbon made at the distillery. The Bourbon is only available in Missouri and Kansas for now but they hope to expand the markets as they produce more aged whiskey.
The label contains some interesting information. It is a bonded whiskey so the DSP number and the seasons the whiskey was made and bottled are on the label. They also include where the whiskey was aged – Warehouse “C” with 21% of the barrels coming from the first floor and 79% of the barrels from the fifth floor. Matt and I tasted this Bourbon and here are our notes.
Ben Holladay Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon
Age: Six Years Old (Spring 2016 – Spring 2022)
- Mike: Vanilla, apricots, raspberries, lemon zest, cardamom and sweet oak wood.
- Matt: Cotton candy, raspberry, citrus and sweet oak wood.
- Mike: Vanilla, raspberries and blackberries, lemon zest, cinnamon, cardamom and sweet oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the lemon zest and cinnamon are enhanced. Tasted with a pecan more oak comes forward, the vanilla becomes a caramel and the spice becomes a white pepper.
- Matt: Creamy vanilla, raspberry baking spices and sweet oak wood. The dried cranberry gave it notes of lemonade. The pecan made the spice a spicy hot cinnamon with notes of peanuts.
- Mike: Long with oak and spice. The dried cranberry made the finish spicier with ginger and cinnamon spice. The pecan brought out the oak and the spice became a pepper spice.
- Matt: Long with oak wood, tobacco and a hint of mint. The dried cranberry made the finish very spicy with mint and white pepper. The pecan made the finish longer with oak, tobacco and white pepper.
I would pair this fine Bourbon with a cigar that has lots of chocolate notes in the smoke. I would reach for a My Father the Judge cigar. I would also recommend a Maduro cigar from the local Weston Tobacco Company. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed their Maduro cigar with the Ben Holladay Bourbon at the distillery.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller