The Ben Holladay Distillery is the old McCormick Distillery in Weston, Missouri. About seven years ago, they decided to get back into making Bourbon whiskey. They had a tough row to hoe because of the bad Bourbon whiskey that was bottled as McCormick Bourbon back in the late 20th century. The distillery had made some very good whiskey back in the 1960s and 70s, but owners of the brand purchased another distillery with stocks of inferior whiskey and put it in the bottle under the McCormick label. It ruined their reputation as whiskey makers. The new owner of the distillery decided to get back in the whiskey business. They changed the name to the Ben Holladay Distillery (the founder of the distillery back in the 19th century), and started making whiskey. They hired a young distiller who takes pride in his craft. They resurrected the old mash bill and made Bourbon. They released their first Bourbon last year and it is very good Bourbon. This year they are releasing their second mash bill – a Bourbon made with soft red wheat as the flavoring grain. This new Bourbon is six years old and bottled-in-bond. It is an excellent wheat recipe Bourbon. I received a bottle when I was there in late April and Matt and I sat down to taste it. In a blind tasting with other whiskeys, we decided to make it our Whiskey of the Month for May 2023. Here are our tasting notes.
Ben Holladay Soft Red Wheat Bottled-in-Bond
Age: Six Years Old
- Mike: Caramel with lots of fruit – apples and pears with a hint of wild berries, pepper spice and oak wood.
- Matt: Honey Nut Cheerios, cherries, vanilla, nutmeg and oak wood.
- Mike: Caramel, apples, raspberries, white pepper spice and oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the apple fruit is enhanced and the pepper becomes a black pepper. Tasted with a pecan and the caramel is enhanced and a note of milk chocolate comes out.
- Matt: Vanilla, honeysuckle, cherries and oak wood. The dried cranberry brings out the nutmeg spice from the nose. The pecan brings out creamy vanilla, honey and caramel flavors.
- Mike: Medium long with oak, pepper spice and lingering caramel. The dried cranberry made the finish very spicy with oak and pepper spice. The pecan made the finish very long with oak, pepper and lingering milk chocolate.
- Matt: Medium long with oak and vanilla. The dried cranberry added a note of pipe tobacco. The pecan made the finish longer with oak, tobacco and a bit of nutty sweetness.
I would pair this fine Bourbon with a Nat Sherman Timeless Pan Americana cigar. I think the rich vanilla and cedar spice of the smoke would pair well with the caramel and spice in the Bourbon.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller