It was only two years or so ago that Jason Brauner and Judith Hollis-Jones introduced the world to Buzzard’s Roost Sippin’ Whiskeys. To be fair, at that point it may not have been the whole world. But it was a respectable gathering of the whiskey curious at a release party in Louisville.
At that time, Buzzard’s Roost had small batch and single barrel offerings of rye (sourced from MGP) aged in casks designed with the help of the barrel brainiacs at Independent Stave. Since July of 2019, the team at Buzzard’s Roost has brought us (in addition to the small batch and single barrels) barrel proof, private selection, toasted barrel and peated barrel expressions. All of these have been very good and exhibited some remarkable creativity on the part of Jason and his team. My favorites have been a couple of the barrel proof bottles and the toasted barrel. If I could have my wish, a barrel proof version of the toasted barrel would be available to us soon (hint, hint).
The latest offering from Buzzard’s Roost is a Bourbon. It has been Jason’s dream all along to have a Bourbon brand and, in Buzzard’s Roost fashion, it is a special one.
Buzzard’s has sourced from MGP several barrels of two different Bourbon mash bills (a 21% rye and a 36% rye mash bill). These barrels were secondarily aged in four different proprietary barrels. The barrels have a #1 char and varying degrees of toasting. The level of toast is very intentional. Buzzard’s Roost and Independent Stave have determined what flavor profiles are typically coaxed from the whiskey by the precise level of toast in each barrel.
After this additional aging (up to six months in some cases) the barrels were blended into the finished product. The Buzzard’s Roost Bourbon was bottled at a barrel strength of 114.4 proof.
I am not typically excited about a sourced whiskey. In many instances, one brand is bottling the same whiskey as several other brands with the only difference being the marketing and obnoxious (and often misleading) packaging.
This is not the case with Buzzard’s Roost. They are very transparent about the fact that their whiskey is sourced. They also are enhancing their whiskey through the secondary aging process and, in the case of the new Bourbon, expert blending techniques.
Looking ahead, Buzzard’s Roost has moved their barrel storage and bottling operation to Bardstown Bourbon Company. There will also be some private selection single barrels of the Bourbon available soon, too. In the near future, Buzzard’s Roost will be doing some contract distilling at BBC. Distilling his own Bourbon will check off one more item on Jason’s whiskey bucket list.
Tasting Notes and A Cocktail
Buzzard’s Roost barrel strength Bourbon is a warm, thick and delicious whiskey. It is released at an ideal time as it strikes me as being a perfect pour for Autumn weather. It has a bit of apple sweetness to it, but is balanced with brown sugar and baking spices. My fat-guy tasting note here is: Apple Brown Betty.
I’ve put together a cocktail using Buzzard’s Roost Bourbon. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I call it Ramble On (after the Led Zeppelin song with the lyric “the autumn moon lights my way”):
In a mixing glass combine over ice:
- 2 oz of Buzzard’s Roost Bourbon
- 1 oz of Pecan simple syrup
- 1.5 cups water brought to boil
- Add 1 cup of brown sugar and quarter cup of pecans
- Turn heat to a simmer for 25 minutes
- Cool and strain into container for refrigeration
- 1 oz of pomegranate juice
- ½ oz of sweet vermouth
- a couple of dashed of argostura bitters
- Shake and pour over a large cube in a rocks glass
Jason, Judith and the Buzzard’s Roost team have made incredible strides with their brand in the last two years. This is especially impressive when you consider that these particular two years have not been the most favorable for starting a new business. Buzzard’s Roost is an exciting and creative brand to follow. If it isn’t available in your area yet, keep an eye out because Buzzard’s Roost has some very aggressive expansion plans. In the meantime, find your way to Kentucky and sample a flight at Bourbon’s Bistro or pick up a bottle while you’re there.