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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Bourbon

Boondocks 8-Year Bourbon

Not long ago, we were in Frankfort, Kentucky for a backstage distillery tour and grabbed lunch at Bourbon on Main in downtown Frankfort. As I scoured the extensive bourbon list, our waitress mentioned a bourbon flight special highlighting Boondocks Bourbon, including their 8-Year-Old straight bourbon whiskey finished in port barrels. With a great flight price, along with whiskeys I hadn't sampled, and sporting an 8-year age statement, I gave it a try.

An Out of the Way Name

While I waited for my whiskey flight, I began searching the internet to learn more about Boondocks. The brand is owned by Royal Wine Corporation. For the past five decades, this family-owned business has quietly been purchasing and importing fine spirits from across the globe, including wines from Italy, Spain, Israel, New Zealand, and Argentina, along with spirits from Scotland, Israel, and the United States.

Owned by the Herzog family, the company brings 8 generations of experience to the wine and spirits industry. In the 1840s, Baron Phillip Herzog founded the family winery in Czechoslovakia and served Austrian-Hungary royalty. Fast forward to today, and they are one of the premier providers of kosher wines and spirits.

The brand draws its name from the area where distilleries are typically found - "the boondocks". In distilling's earliest days, production facilities were placed where grain supplies and water sources were plentiful, and where farmers were available to take the spent distiller's mash to feed their livestock ("bourbon mash makes for happy cows"). While the label mentions Boondocks Spirits of Bardstown, Kentucky, Royal Wine does not own a whiskey distillery, and, instead, sources its bourbons.

The master distiller for Boondocks is Dave Scheurich. Dave brings more than four decades of distilling experience to Royal Wine. He began his career with Seagrams in 1969, before serving as Director of Bottling for Wild Turkey and the General Manager and Distiller for Woodford Reserve before retiring in 2010 to begin High Spirits Enterprise - a consulting business assisting budding alcohol product entrepreneurs.

By this point in our meal, my flight of Boondocks has arrived, and includes a Rye Whiskey, a cask strength whiskey, and the topic of this review, an 8-year bourbon finished in port barrels.

The Tasting

Boondocks comes in a tall, shouldered bottle with a raised "B" on the bottom face. The lettering of the brand name is straight out of the Wild West. Neither the label, nor the website disclose the mash bill. The finished product is bottled at an approachable 90 proof.

Eye: Dark amber with reddish copper tones.

Nose: Deep with layers of vanilla and warm fruit cobbler.

Palate: True to the nose, there is sweet vanilla and dark fruits, balanced with light oak and gentle spice.

Finish: Medium-long, continuing with fruit, vanilla, gentle oak and spice. This is one, that at 8-years, I would have expected more bite from the wood and spice. I suspect, however, that the fruity sweet notes from the port barrels have balanced those nicely.

Overall: This was really good. As the Mrs. has been sampling more bourbons of late, she did, indeed, sample this one, as well. She described this bourbon as "pure goodness" as she enjoyed a heavy taste. I declared, "What are you doing?". "Acclimating my palate", she said. "How much acclimation does your palate need?", I asked as she smiled, enjoying her second, long sip, and replied, "It's for the blog". Touche'. Well played.

If you need more confirmation for whether we enjoyed our Boondocks flight, it didn't take us long to seek this out at a local, regional liquor store to add the bottle to our home lineup. At about $50, this was an excellent finished whiskey. And yes, she's still "acclimating her palate" from my glass. Cheers!

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