Driftless Glen Single Barrel
The Driftless Area of Wisconsin refers to the areas which were untouched when massive glaciers plowed through and flattened much of the Midwest more than 15,000 years ago. In fact, the land looks starkly different from the much of the plains, complete with rugged hills, limestone outcrops, sandy soil, as well as peat and bogs. It is here that the Driftless Glen Distillery makes its home with the motto "Taste the American Spirit".
Craft Distilling at its Best Founders Brian and Renee Bemis began operations at Driftless Glen in 2012 in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The couple are local to St. Charles in Northern Illinois. In addition to the distillery, Brian operates several car dealerships across Illinois and Renee is a renowned sculptor. Their website keeps a running tab of barrels produced (6,901), different spirits (17), as well as states (21) and stores (1,219) where their products are sold. On site at the distillery, you'll find cocktails as well as a full-service gourmet restaurant. Grains are sourced locally and grown in the sandy soil. Their range of spirits include moonshine, gin, vodka, brandy, rye whiskey, and bourbon. Distilling takes place in a Vendome 550-gallon copper pot still, a 42-foot 24-inch column still, and a 330-gallon pot still reserved for clear spirits. Products are aged in 25 and 30 gallon barrels to accelerate the aging process naturally.
The Tasting This single-barrel bourbon is from barrel number 2291 and was bottled by Casey. It is presented in a heavy square bottle emblazoned with the Driftless Glen windmill logo. The mash bill is 60% corn, 20% rye, 20% malted barley. It is bottled at 96 proof and carries a 5-year age statement. Eye: Medium amber with a host of thin legs displayed in my Glencairn glass. Nose: Rich and inviting, with vanilla, oak, malted cereal grains in addition to plums and dark fruits. Palate: Vanilla, dry oak, and green pepper spice. I also picked up some nuttier notes - like a pecan bar fresh from the oven. Finish: Long with vanilla, oak, and spice - a warm Wisconsin hug. Absolutely delicious! Overall: This craft bourbon was very enjoyable. Purchased for $40, it was well balanced with a reasonable amount of complexity layered in from the higher content rye and barley. I also appreciated the 5-year age statement (similar to that of the nearby J. Henry & Sons) and that youthful product was not rushed to market. Keep an eye out for this one in the regional section of your favorite store.