The Jefferson's Reserve review
Company: McLain & Kyne
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Breakdown: 60% corn, 30% rye, 10% malted barley
How it’s taken us this long to review Jefferson’s Reserve is a mystery to the Gents. This bottle was one of the earliest to grace our collection, plus it was in one of the first pictures we took for our newly formed social media accounts. In fact, our picture was actually picked up by Jefferson’s themselves and used on their Facebook page. Fast forward a year and a half and we finally realise we haven't reviewed it and need to correct our mistake.
Founded quite recently in 1997, Jefferson’s is the product of Trey Zoeller and his father Chet. Rather than give us a funkily named new bourbon called ‘Zoeller’ they chose to associate their new venture with one Thomas Jefferson — apparently because he was known for his ‘curiosity and experimental spirit’. See what they did there? Experimental spirits are definitely a trademark of Jefferson’s Bourbon, what other brand do you know that sticks their barrels on a ship and sails them around the world before bottling? None - exactly!
Originally the Reserve offering from Jefferson’s was a 15 year old aged bourbon. However, from 2003 it changed to be mixed with lesser aged bourbon and so the age statement was dropped. It is this version the Gents are sampling and from the high rye content of this one we’re expecting that Mav will be less of fan than Mr Pie. Maybe…
For this review we drank it neat in a Glencairn glass.
What we got – wet grass (Mav), red berries (Mr Pie), mint, very fresh
What they say we should get - Gentle, dried fruits, hay, warming, hints of spice, cream, vanilla. Lovely sweetness
What we got – Mint, chocolate (Mr Pie), wood, very delicate, subtle hints of pepper, quite dry
What they say we should get - Very summery, light and supple bourbon which offers good, clean delivery, pleasant sweetness, hints of cigar leaf, pepper and toffee
What we got – Medium, melts away in the mouth
What they say we should get - Long finish, with good oak integration, a little sweetness and dry spice lingers
Well that was a surprise. How did they hide all that rye? Answers on a postcard to the Gents please if you know, because we certainly don’t. Both on the nose and the palate there are only hints of pepper and spice, nothing to suggest that 30% of the mash bill is made up of rye. To say Mav found this a pleasant surprise is an understatement.
This is such a delicate drink (we can’t think of a better descriptor for it). From its nose, to its entry to the mouth, the flavours are subtle, clean and light. We don’t want to give the impression there is nothing to this dram, far from it. We just want to convey how easy this is to drink, if it wasn’t for the high price this would be an instant top of the everyday sipper chart.
Even the finish gently & slowly melts away. It’s as if the drink is the personification of a polite English person in bourbon form, apologising for any disturbance their presence has caused and then apologising again as they quietly leave. This is a well-crafted drink and full credit goes to the master distiller for pulling it off. The Gents doff their hats to you Sir.
7 out of 10 - Mav
7 out of 10 - Mr. Pie