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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Bourbon

Daviess County Toasted Barrel Finish

I confess that I often see things and quickly attribute or connect them with something very different. One time, our family was traveling in Southern Indiana and I was convinced that I saw a sign for Squire Boone Tavern. Thinking it would be a good spot for dinner, we pulled off the interstate only to find Squire Boone Cavern - not someplace to eat. Daviess County Bourbon is another instance of a "quick read" and a jump to a conclusion.

The Birthplace of Bourbon

At first glance, I had attributed Daviess County Bourbon to Jo Daviess county in northwestern Illinois, near historic Galena. Nope. There is indeed a Daviess County in Kentucky in western Kentucky, with Owensboro as the county seat.

The name honors the Daviess County Distilling Company, founded in 1874. At one point, twenty-some distilleries dotted Daviess County. When Prohibition came, Daviess managed to stay afloat by selling bonded barrels of bourbon to American Medicinal Spirits Company (later known as National Distillers), who in turn, had one of the six licenses to bottle and sell medicinal whiskey.

In 2020, Lux Row Distillers brought the brand back to life as an ultra-premium offering to recognize Kentucky as the birthplace of bourbon. The lineup features three bourbons: Daviess County Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Daviess County Cabernet Sauvignon Finish, and Daviess County French Oak Finish. In addition, a Toasted Barrel finish is produced as a limited annual release.

For decades, Lux Row was a non-producing distiller (NPD), purchasing bourbon from other distillers, bottling the product, and placing its own label on the finished product. In 2018, Lux Row built its own distilling operations in Bardstown, Kentucky where it produces several brands, including Rebel Bourbon, Ezra Brooks, Blood Oath, David Nicholson, and the Daviess County lineup.

The Tasting

Daviess County Toasted Barrel Finish is one of the brand's annual limited editions. The product is aged four-plus years in new American charred oak barrels featuring a blend of two bourbons - a rye bourbon and a wheated bourbon - same as in the other Daviess County bourbons. It is then, subsequently, dumped and aged a second-time in a lightly toasted oak barrel.

The finished product is bottled at 96 proof in a bottle showcasing the raised letters of Lux Row Distillers along with the light toast level. When we toured the distillery in 2023, we were told that future toasted barrel releases would highlight a medium toast level. MSRP is around $50.

Color: Golden straw with a few medium legs displayed in the Glencairn glass.

Nose: Honey and vanilla along with some lighter caramel and oak. Some doughy notes - almost like those Pillsbury cinnamon rolls that come in a tube slathered with icing. The oak definitely takes a back seat.

Palate: Sticking to the honey note along a bread-like sensation, along with light oak and spice.

Finish: Medium with honey and oak, and a crescendo of cinnamon spice at the end.

Overall: This was a great foray into my first taste of a Daviess County expression. At $50, this won't break the bank and won't disappoint either. Now that Lux Row is producing its own products, I'll be curious how its brands progress.

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