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Clark & Sheffield Single Barrel Bourbon

Growing up in the Midwest, I recall dining out at the traditional "supper club" with my parents. As was often the case, when presented with salad dressing or wine choices, there was often the "house brand". Today we check out the "house brand" - er, rather the "store brand" bourbon of the Binny's liquor store chain - Clark & Sheffield Single Barrel.

Big Shoulders In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Chicago was the meat packing capital of the world. As hog and meat processing was essential to the nation, the weight of the country fell on the "big shoulders" or "broad shoulders" of Chicago. Following World War II, Binny's was founded in 1948 by Harold Binstein at the corner of Clark and Sheffield Streets - one block south of Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. In honor of the original store, Binny's has contracted with the Barton Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky to produce Clark & Sheffield bourbon. Two varieties are available - a straight bourbon and a single barrel variety.

The Tasting The Barton Distillery produces the Old Barton and 1792 brands, among others, and contract distills several other store brands, including the popular Kirkland brand for Costco. The mash bill is undisclosed, but wouldn't be surprised if this shares some notes similar to the other bourbons produced at the Bardstown location. The bourbon is packaged in an attractive, short, squat bottle and is proofed to 90 proof.

Eye: Light amber. A couple of thin legs are displayed on the Glencairn glass. Nose: Caramel, vanilla, and honey are front and center. There are also some citrus-orange lighter notes present, as well. Palate: Thin mouthfeel with vanilla, toasted oak, and honey. Very light and subdued. Finish: Short with light oak and vanilla-citrus. Overall: Pleasant, if uninspiring. There were no off-putting notes, but neither was there anything remarkable about this bourbon. While I appreciated the pour, its probably not one I would reach for again. If you're looking for a mixer, this one might be fine.

At $28, there are other products that offer more balance and bolder flavor profiles, including some other brands from Barton 1792 (such as its namesake brand), as well as Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond, Old Forester, and Wild Turkey.

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