It’s that time of the year again, and I find myself shielding my face as I walk into my favorite stores. “Would you like some Girl Scout cookies?” There’s only so many times I can dodge the cuteness, and I cave. But … what if I paired two of my favorite things? Now, we’re talking! Here goes:
Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel Bourbon & Trefoils
If you’re lucky enough to spot a bottle, grab one immediately. Beyond the coolness factor of a handsome decanter, you’ll find a cousin to the incredibly popular Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon. Made from Buffalo Trace’s Mash Bill #2, bottled at 100 proof, and rumored to be in the 8-10 year range, you’ll find it includes corn, malted barley, and about 15% rye.
In a glass, it has a lovely medium amber color and exhibits long legs as it’s gently swirled in a Glencairn glass. On the nose, you’ll catch vanilla and fruits. A slight pepperiness is felt as it makes its way down for a long, slow, smooth cinnamon and oak finish. Paired with the salty butteriness of a shortbread cookie, the vanilla and sweet notes rise in ever increasing waves.
Makers Mark Straight Whisky & Thin Mints
After that first one, you’re probably thinking, “Will he talk about something I might have in the cabinet?” Made in Claremont, KY by the Beam Suntory group, Makers Mark is a staple in many bourbon cabinets. Sporting the unmistakable hand-dipped red wax neck, Makers is one of a relatively few wheated bourbons. Most bourbon mash bills contain corn (at least 51%), malted barley, and rye. Makers, like several others, including the popular Pappy Van Winkles, Wellers, and the recently introduced Larceny from Heaven Hill swap the rye out for the softer wheat grain.
Makers mash bill is reported to use 70% corn, 14% malted barley, and 16% red winter wheat. On the nose, you’ll smell vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and even a bit of fruit. I paired the amber-colored spirit with Thin Mints (one of my perennial favorites). Immediately, the vanilla, chocolate, and dried fruit flavors of Makers Mark became more pronounced. As the finish layered flavor after flavor, I found the mintiness of the cookie ever more present leading to a mint julep-like flavor. This was definitely a welcome taste of spring!
Woodford Reserve Malt Whiskey & S’mores
While technically not a bourbon, Woodford Reserve’s recent addition of a Malt Whiskey is quickly becoming one that always has a spot in my cabinet. After sampling a few varieties of scotch, I just can’t bring myself to the heavy earthiness and smokiness that often comes from these types of spirits. Manufactured by the Brown Forman group, Woodford’s expression is incredibly approachable for bourbon drinkers looking for something different. Bottled at 90.4 proof with a mash bill of 51% malted barley, 47% corn, and 2% rye, its copper color and gentle sweetness encourage you to explore more of this American malt whisky.
I paired this with the Smores sandwich cookie. Wow! The gentle grain notes of malted barley and sweetness of the corn circled around the campfire treat of graham cracker, mashallowy filling and chocolate. The finish is very long and nicely sweet. This would be a great way to end a long day working or playing outside.