Monday, March 27, 2023

Review: Smoke Wagon Uncut the Younger Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Color (5%):  Faint amber, dark honey, hay hues. Lots of thinning at the edges. 3/5

Nose (10%):  Powdered sugar candy sweetness. Dried apricot, light sweet cinnamon. rye spice reminds me of that dense Christmas fruitcake or panettone. Alcohol is very present, naturally. 8/10

Palate (20%): That is a complex, hot whiskey. A delicate honey sweetness starts you off which gets a bit darker. Lots of cooked fruit, roasted apples, and pears. Not a lot of oak when compared to the other two smoke wagons I've tried, the Small Batch and the standard Straight Bourbon. There's a fair bit of botanical flavor filling that oaky void. There's a mint characteristic to it. Very nice thick texture. 18/20

Finish (10%): The alcohol is there but you get used to it. There's a subdued sweetness and mild cinnamon spice given from the relatively high rye content. Spice usually gets brought out by the roasted toasted oak but we don't have that oak here so the spice stays relatively mild when compared to other bourbons in this category. 7/10

Overall Impression and Harmony (30%): This took some getting used to but I do properly like it. It's complex and it shifts on you as you acclimate to it. The booze hits hard but you slowly pick out loads of different flavors from all over the place. A minty whiskey is interesting to me. I want to try this in some version of a Manhattan, probably a dry or a perfect variation. Honestly, I don't love over-oaked bourbons and this certainly doesn't fall into that pitfall. The alcohol is undeniable. Have water on hand.   27/30

Retry on Ice (25%): The botanical finish really comes out even more, reinforcing how I want to try this in a spirit-forward cocktail. The sweetness remains pretty mild, possibly even less mild which is unusual. The rye spices fade to mild from their medium intensity before. Honestly, it's a bit bland after trying it neat. 21/25

Total Ranking: 84% Legendary, AmazingGreatGood, Fair, Average, Tolerable, Swill

Estimated Fair Price: $52
Actual Price: $42

Conclusion: Smoke Wagon admits to sourcing most if not all of its whiskey from MGP. Unfortunately, Smoke Wagon was too successful for its own good and the demand has begun to overtake the supply. The juice that is Smoke Wagon's mash bill is starting to become scarce. So to meet the market they've started putting out a younger product under their banner. This is a tasty whiskey that they should be proud of but if you ordered something called Smoke Wagon and got this you'd be upset. I understand that this is their younger version but if this was your first experience with the brand you'd be confused. That said, if you got this in a flight this would be a really interesting component and likely would be a few people's favorite. For an over-proof whiskey at this price point, this is a really good deal. If you are a smoke and oak lover this isn't for you, but it is for me. I'm not sure I'd sip this neat regularly as a part of my rotation but it's worth sampling.

Fact Sheet: 60% Corn, 36% Rye, 4% Malted Barley
Distillery Location: Las Vegas, Nevada H&C Distilling Co
Aged a minimum of 39 months
ABV: 58.11%

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