I reviewed Bluegrass Distillers Wheated Bourbon earlier this year, but remained on the hunt for their unique Blue Corn Straight Bourbon. With a tall bottle sporting an iconic jockey silk, it was hard to pass up when my daughter and I saw it at one of our favorite stores.
Kentucky is home to the University of Kentucky and the Big Blue Nation. It was fitting that Blue Corn Bourbon began as a product of chemical engineering interns from the University of Kentucky. Bluegrass Distillers Master Distiller Kee Pyles noted that the blue corn mash recipe produced a raw distillate that had a subtle taste and floral nose for an unaged spirit they called “blue dog”.
Beginning in 2015, owners Sam Rock and Nathan Brown partnered with nearby Gilkison Farm in Winchester, Kentucky to grow GMO-free blue corn locally. In addition, the distillery has partnered with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to be branded a Kentucky Proud product.
The Bluegrass Distillers website indicates the mash bill for the Blue Corn Straight Bourbon is made from 75% blue corn, 21% wheat and 4% malted barley. The label indicates this product is bottled at 90 proof. This particular sampling was bottle 590 from batch #2. Further, the bottle states “straight bourbon whiskey” indicating it has been aged at least 2 years. My daughter found this limited release at a small liquor in the Bluegrass for around $40.
The website says the blue corn yields an earthy, nutty, and mildly vanilla flavor. Let’s see how this tastes:
Eye: Medium amber. Similar to my thoughts on the Bluegrass Distillers Wheated Bourbon, while the label states “aged at least two years”, this doesn’t look nearly that young.
Nose: Subtle corn followed by light spice and grassy notes.
Palate: Creamy with spice and oaky notes on the front of the palate, followed by butted sweet corn and pecans.
Finish: Medium with vanilla and cornbread followed with subtle spice and oakiness.
Overall: As with their Wheated Bourbon product, this tastes with a young product – I’m guessing not much over the 2-year definition of straight bourbon. I think this would be an even better product with a couple more years of age to add some more complexity and round out the corn-heaviness.