Henry Watterson Bourbon

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Henry Watterson Bourbon

Unread postby bourbonv » Fri May 23, 2008 10:22 am

The other night I opened a pint bottle of Henry Watterson Bourbon made in Spring 1916 and bottled in Fall 1929. The bourbon was made at the A. Mayfield Distillery, DSP#229 in LaRue County, Kentucky. The distillery was built by J M Atherton and run by his brother-in-law Alex Mayfield. By 1910 it was owned by the Kentucky Distillers and Warehouse Company which became American Medicinal Spirits Company during prohibition. They bottled and sold this bottle of Henry Watterson Bourbon. The bourbon was good and transparent with no cloudiness, but evaporation had reduced its contents down to the shoulders of the bottle, probably reducing the proof as well to between 90 and 95 proof. Here is the tasting notes.

Color: deep Amber-red with thick legs on the glass.

Nose: Very rich in the dark fruits such as blackberry, dates and cherries, with a changing nose to a rich caramel that is like the Brach's chewy caramels. As you warm it in your hands it switches between fruit and caramel. What is suprising is the lack of spice notes.

Taste: A burst of sweet spices and pepper - cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon with rich fruity apricot and dates followed by some caramel and then Oak wood. Not bitter but thick and chewy in the mouth.

Finish: Sweet spices, caramel and fruit leading into a pleasant oak wood dryness that last a long time.
Mike Veach
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Re: Henry Watterson Bourbon

Unread postby bunghole » Sat May 24, 2008 12:08 am

Mmmmm...sounds delicious!
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Re: Henry Watterson Bourbon

Unread postby bunghole » Sun Jun 01, 2008 6:30 pm

First my profound thanks to my good friend and bourbon brother, Prof. Mike Veech for sending me this very generous sample of pre-prohibition Henry Watterson.

Bottled-In-Bond: Distilled Spring 1916 - Bottled Fall 1929

Color: A deep rich amber with a reddish hue simular to the finish on fine cherrywood furniture. A very handsome bourbon indeed. The viscosity in the glass is thick & coating with substantial legs.

Nose: Complex, huge, and fruity. Black cherry and sweet char topnotes. Candy tones of caramel and butter brickle. Some vanilla and apple undertones.

Taste: Big and quite tart with Black Cherry and oak. Candy notes go semi-sweet, and become well amalgamated.

Finish: Long; semi-sweet, then drying with an interesting tartness. Silken without heat. Sophisticated.

Overview: A rare treat with a very unique and satisfying flavor profile. "The Glencairn Glass" was utilized for this review.

Linn :sunny:
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Re: Henry Watterson Bourbon

Unread postby bourbonv » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:29 am

Linn,
I am glad you received the sample with no problems. I am also glad you enjoyed the bourbon. Did you try adding water? I found that it was not near as good with water as it was neat. The water simply made the taste thin instead of opening it up. I wish I had another dozen bottles of this bourbon. I really liked its fruitiness and complexity.

Very good review, by the way.
Mike Veach
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Re: Henry Watterson Bourbon

Unread postby bunghole » Mon Jun 02, 2008 12:49 pm

Thanks, Mike. I didn't mention the sweet spice undercurrent in this bourbon because you had this aspect so well covered in your review, but I should add that I do concur with your observations in that respect. Well done.

I didn't water the bourbon, as I didn't think it needed it. When allowed to breathe in the glass, the nose opened up nicely on it's own.

Linn
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Re: Henry Watterson Bourbon

Unread postby bourbonv » Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:22 pm

Linn,
I found that the longer this bourbon breathed the more it changed. After about 10 minutes it became very rich caramel - think Brach's chewey caramel. If warmed a little after that the fruit came back. After about another 10 minutes the wood started to come out on the nose for a rich caramel, fruit and oak nose that was very complex and nice.
Mike Veach
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Re: Henry Watterson Bourbon

Unread postby Bourbon Joe » Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:38 pm

Ah, old whiskies. Can there be anything better?
Joe
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Re: Henry Watterson Bourbon

Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:44 pm

A case of old whiskey? That would be better. I would not like a barrel because that would be too damned woody after 100 years, no matter where it was stored in the warehouse. I know, how about a modern distiller taking the time and expense to make an old style bourbon without enzymes, using jug yeast and non-hybrid grains, distilled at a low proof and put into the barrel at 100 proof and bottled at 100 proof unfiltered (other than the filter in the dump trough to catch charcoal flakes). That would be better than old whiskey!
Mike Veach
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Re: Henry Watterson Bourbon

Unread postby Bourbon Joe » Fri Jun 06, 2008 6:28 pm

bourbonv wrote:I know, how about a modern distiller taking the time and expense to make an old style bourbon without enzymes, using jug yeast and non-hybrid grains, distilled at a low proof and put into the barrel at 100 proof and bottled at 100 proof unfiltered (other than the filter in the dump trough to catch charcoal flakes). That would be better than old whiskey!


Dream on my friend.
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Re: Henry Watterson Bourbon

Unread postby bourbonv » Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:30 pm

Joe,
Now don't go and bust my bubble! One can dream and hope. Maybe one of the distillers that for all of the extra expense, it is still cheaper than buy French Oak barrels at a gazillion dollars each and the bourbon would be twenty times better than anything ever put into French oak. Maybe not in my lifetime, but maybe these younger folks might see it happen. If it does, I suspect it will be a micro-distillery that does it.
Mike Veach
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