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Drink Review: Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon

A wheat, rye and corn mash bourbon made in Bardstown, Kentucky. The label was designed by noted artist William Nagle.

Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon Review:

I found Corner Creek Bourbon at the store while looking for an inexpensive everyday drinking bourbon, heavier on the rye and corn than rye and wheat, lighter on the corn than wheat and rye. It’s packaged in a large flask-shaped clear plastic bottle that comes with an easy-to-close screw-on cap.

The bourbon is a rich amber color with a medium body, slightly oily texture with a hint of sweetness and a lingering warmth. Corn, rye, and wheat flavors are joined by oak, tobacco (Turkish cigarette), and chewy caramel. The finish is long and very smooth with only a small amount of burn.

The flavor is more intense in the first swallow, then becomes thicker and smoother, with a slightly dry finish that makes the next drink easier to swallow.

Caramel push-up pops come to mind when I drink this bourbon. I’m not sure if that is good or bad. Call it a complement, I guess.

I’ve drank some of the better bourbons, even a few I consider to be in the category of great. This is not one of those.

This is a solid, mid-to-low range bourbon with excellent taste.

A lot of so-called “reviewers” have little or no idea what they are talking about when it comes to good whiskey. They plead ignorance to make their reviews more dramatic, or enough people don’t know because they don’t know how to find out for themself, so they share their reviews to everyone around them. That translates to buzz because people talking about how great or bad something is, and I mean really talking about it, is a key component of the way the world works today.

My good friend, the nice bartender at The Revelry, told me, “Everybody has an opinion and, most of the time, it’s not worth listening to.” That’s definitely true about alcohol reviews. Since so many people are talking, at least they’re talking and you know you’re still drunk and you don’t have to worry about the things that were said being real or true.

Corner Creek Reserve Bourbons

Corner Creek Reserve is one of the first bourbons to be aged in new oak barrels, replacing the older tradition of using used barrels. This is a great way to get a new oak flavor without the price of new oak barrels. It took $23 million and seven years to build the new 100,000 square foot building used to age whiskey.

So, is it the best new oak effect on the bottom shelf? I’d like to think No, but I think in the mind of the reviewer I answered yes.

It’s been available for a long time, probably more than eight years at least. The company has been in business since 1882, and the current owners, the Stavely family, have been in operation since 1957.

After buying a controlling interest in the company, they made the changes to be more efficient, thus able to increase distribution and do it in a way that kept costs down. In fact, they won an award for it.

For years, Bardstown was the center of whiskey production. In 1985, when the current owners bought the company, Bardstown was almost finished as a distilling center and all of the distilleries were leveled by a large tornado that ripped through the area in the late ’80s.

The company is doing well and has yet to be sold. When it will happen is anyone’s guess. It will probably be in the next decade and they’ll sell out for about $14 million. The list of potential bidders is small and secret.

Caramel Push-up Pops

The caramel push-up pops don’t seem much like whiskey, but there is a connection.

That connection is in the mind of the consumer. The taste, the smell and the texture are hard to describe and basically, you just have to try it. If you like the taste, the smell and the texture then it is, for you, whiskey.

Written by Mark Adams

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