When Matt and I were walking around the tasting event at the New Orleans Bourbon Festival, Royce Neeley came up to us and said “I have something for you to taste.” He pulled a sample bottle of his four year old Bourbon aged in 53-gallon barrels. We thanked him and tasted the whiskey. It is fantastic Bourbon. We returned to Louisville and tasted it again, took notes and decided to make it a whiskey of the month. I requested a bottle from Royce and he brought a bottle by the house soon after it was bottled.
I like Royce Neeley. He is a young and talented distiller who has pride in his family heritage and wants to make whiskey that reflects that rich heritage. He is very open about what he does to make his whiskey and that is reflected in the amount of information he puts on the label. This whiskey has a mash bill of 67% corn, 25% rye, 8% malted barley. It is a single barrel from a 53-gallon barrel, number 702, with a number 2 char. He used his yeast A-1. It is 51 months old (four years, three months), and was bottled at 112.3 proof. It is a sweet mash, triple pot-distilled and non-chill filtered.
Neeley Family Single Barrel Bourbon
Age: Four Years, Three Months
- Mike: Rich caramel and chocolate with a hint of sorghum molasses, baking spice and sweet oak wood.
- Matt: Cocoa powder, butter and tangerine with tobacco, baking spices and sweet oak wood.
- Mike: Caramel and sorghum with cinnamon spice, apple fruit and sweet oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and berry fruits come out – raspberries and blackberries to join the party. Tasted with a pecan, the fruit is reduced but notes of chocolate and enhanced oak take their place.
- Matt: Cocoa powder, tangerine, buttery caramel with some floral notes and sweet oak wood. The dried cranberry made the caramel rich and chewy like a caramel candy with French burnt peanut candy. The pecan brought out notes of cocoa butter and cherries.
- Mike: Long and dry with oak wood, cinnamon and lingering fruit sweetness. The dried cranberry made the fruit flavor linger longer. The pecan brought out some notes of chocolate to join the oak wood and spice.
- Matt: Long and dry with oak and tobacco. The dried cranberry added a subdued note of cayenne pepper. The pecan made the finish very long with lots of oak and spice.
I would pair this fine Bourbon with a cigar with lots of rich tobacco and cedar spice notes in the smoke. A Fuente Opus X would fill the bill nicely.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller