The Town Branch review
Company: Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Breakdown: 72% corn, 13% rye, 15% malted barley
Price: c. £40
If you were looking for a very specific bourbon, say one that came in a fancy bottle, and that fancy bottle was also so heavy that it could probably kill a man, then Town Branch is the whiskey for you.
A relative new comer to the bourbon scene, the distillery only opened in 2012, Town Branch is the brain child of Dr. Thomas Pearse Lyons. Apparently (as their website tells it) he hails from five generations of coopers, and was the first Irishman to earn a formal degree from the British School of Malting and Brewing - which sounds like a fancy school but is actually now just a less interestingly named ‘biochemist course’ at the University of Birmingham (and by that we mean the original one in the UK, not the copycat Alabama version).
Lyons (who unfortunately passed away earlier this year) was a very interesting man indeed. His personal wealth was estimated to be in the region of €1.5b and according to the Sunday Times Rich List he was the sixth richest Irish person in 2012, also in that same year he was named Irish businessman of the year. He authored over 20 books and apparently woke at 03:50am everyday to get a head start on the competition. This was a seriously driven guy!
So what do the humble Gents think of his bourbon…?
For this review we drank it neat in a Glencairn glass.
What we got – Very fruity and sweet, similar to Opal Fruits/Jolly Ranchers (Mav), but for Mr Pie it is quite an oak bomb and sweet cherry. Not an unpleasant nose at all.
What they say we should get - Mineral water and wet leaves temper thick burnt oak notes and dark, toasty sugar.
What we got – A very smooth introduction and then an enjoyable small explosion of spice. Tastes a little burnt, harsh and ash like. Could be classed a little over oaky but at the same time has a palate of a young whiskey. It is a 40% whiskey but is disappointingly watery.
What they say we should get - Vanilla and sweet citrus fruits emerge among cinnamon and hints of cherry.
What we got – A very short finish and burn with ash, smoke and a bitterness towards the end.
What they say we should get - A little dried pineapple lingers.
Considering what an interesting and great man Dr Lyons was, we wanted to like his bourbon more than we ultimately did. It’s a young whiskey and that comes through quite a lot on the palate, combined with the low volume (40%) this just leaves an overall thin and watery experience.
The nose is actually the real winner here and, although the Gents don’t give separate marks for nose, palate and finish, if we did then this one would have scored higher overall. It’s one of those that you really need to let sit for a while before you put your nose in there, it’s a cliche but Town Branch really does open up if you give it the time.
Mav took a chance on buying this bottle while killing time in Dublin airport, possibly swayed by the bottle (for it being fancy, not for it’s man killing potential), but that gamble hasn’t quite paid off. Maybe in a few more years when the distillery is a little older and they are able to release a version containing more mature liquid in the mix. For now however, at £40 we can’t quiet recommend this.
5 out of 10 - Mav
4 out of 10 – Mr. Pie