The Boondocks review
Age: 8 years
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (finished in port barrels)
Price: c. £60.00
Many of us are looking forward to the day when we can call it quits on the demands of the working week. When we can finally put our feet up and retire from the stresses of the day job, learn to relax, live life to the full and enjoy the fruits of our labour. Well it didn’t quite work out like that for the present Master Distiller of Boondocks, Dave Scheurich. After leading the restoration of the Labrot & Graham Distillery (what we know today as Woodford Reserve) which he started in 1994 and after over 40 years working in the American Whiskey industry he took well-earned retirement in 2011. Fast forward 5 years and Mr Scheurich was back with the Royal Wine Corp owned Boondocks slaving away again. Some people just don’t know how to relax.
The name Boondocks is derived from an expression city folk use to describe rural areas. As originally distilleries ideally needed to be close to their grain suppliers, and also close to an abundant water supply, so whiskey making regions were known as the ‘Boondocks’
Boondocks are a non-distilling producer and the brand was launched in 2016 with the release of two 11 year old American Whiskeys, one at 47.5% ABV and a cask strength offering at a whopping 63.5% ABV. These whiskeys were aged in used bourbon barrels and the mash-bills are an undisclosed combination of corn, rye and malted barley.
The bourbon we are reviewing below was launched later and was originally sourced as an incredibly smooth and rich 8 year old straight bourbon whiskey (descriptors from their website) and then finished and aged for an undisclosed period of time in used port barrels.
For this review we drank it neat in a Glencairn glass.
What we got – Pear drop sweets, it smells like nose diving into a large bowl of white sugar. Very little if any oak notes are released from the glass. If this bourbon was being blind tasted you could easily mistake if for a very young whiskey. Mav found the nose to be fresh and similar to many rye forward bourbons
What they say we should get – Aromas of caramel, vanillas, raisins and oak
What we got – Dark red fruits and plum like notes from the onset alongside a slight rye kick. Not as sweet as you expect and the port finish could even be masking the sweetness rather than enhancing it
What they say we should get – Robust, fruity with nice finely balanced bourbon notes enhanced by a subtle port finish. Flavours of raisins, vanilla, a touch of smoke and an oaky but not tannic sweet, big and spicy mouthfeel
What we got – Not particularly lengthy and a little disappointing to be honest. Expected a little more from the aged whiskey and we really wanted it hang around for longer
What they say we should get – Long and pleasant.
The Gents get very excited when they find and buy bourbon neither of them have heard of before - never mind even tasted. Mr Pie was quickly dreaming about researching the backstory of the brand and how it came to market (he really needs to get out more).
We have not yet achieved a huge amount of exposure to finished bourbons and were eager to open this bottle up and dig in. It is difficult to estimate how long this 8 year old bourbon is further aged in used port wine barrels to obtain that desired sweet spot the Master Distiller is striving for. Hoping to compliment the bourbon and not overpower it with the forceful port flavours. For reference, other more well-known port finished bourbons are aged additionally from as a little as 3 months right up until 2 years.
There is no doubting Boondocks bourbon has a marvellous array of aromas on the nose, and for us we found it full of very light pear like fruits with tons of white sugars. We expected to find the port finish notes on the nose immediately but did not actually pull that through very easily. We would love to know the full mash-bill breakdown and how much rye is in there. Rye elements were found throughout the nosing and tasting notes.
Mixed reviews were out there for Boondocks as you’d probably expect. From ‘Poor man’s Angel’s Envy’ to ‘Without doubt better than Angel’s Envy’. As you will see from our scores we may well be sitting on the fence with this one with splinters in our ass.
Boondocks bourbon is presented in an awesomely shaped bottle alongside pretty cool simple labelling. The whiskey inside is good, it may not be for the purists but every now and then, reaching out for something different just about hits the spot! Life is short, go grab a bottle (well at least a sample).
6 out of 10 - Mav
6 out of 10 – Mr. Pie