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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Bourbon

Green River Wheated Bourbon

Rye tends to be the dominant flavoring grain for many popular bourbons. Julian "Pappy" Van Winkle Sr. popularized wheated bourbons with his Old Fitzgerald brand. Bill Samuels Sr. discovered a similar profile with the introduction of his Maker's Mark brand in the 1950s. Green River Wheated Bourbon continues the popular trend, replacing rye with soft winter wheat as the flavoring grain to deliver a smoother-tasting product.

Green River Distilling Company

Green River Bourbon is produced by the Green River Distillery, formerly known as the O.Z. Tyler Distillery, in Owensboro, Kentucky. The name reflects the legendary distillery at this location, begun by John McCullough in the 1890s.

The Green River brand won numerous awards in the early 1900s and was known as "the whiskey without regrets". Production continued post-Prohibition as part of the Schenley Industries conglomerate for another three decades before falling on hard times with bourbon's demise. The Owensboro facility was re-opened in 2014 and within two years was producing whiskeys (albeit, many were rapidly aged). In July 2022, Bardstown Bourbon Company purchased the distillery and brands to add to its rapidly expanding portfolio.

The Tasting

Similar to their flagship high-rye bourbon, Green River Wheated Bourbon comes in an attractive horseshoe shaped bottle with a faux tax stamp and wooden cork proudly bearing the DSP-KY-10 distinction, indicating it hearkens back to the 10th oldest distillery in Kentucky. The website shares that it has been aged over five years. The mash bill is 70% locally-sourced corn, 21% wheat, and 9% malted 2 and 6 row barley. The finished whiskey is bottled at 90 proof. MSRP is $35.

From the website we're told to expect beautiful peach and caramel aroma coupled with apricot and cinnamon ... bursting with flavor, on the palate you’ll find toffee, pastry and hazelnut that guide toward a honeyed finish that’s smooth and balanced.

Color: Golden chestnut with medium legs displayed upon swirling in the Glencairn glass.

Nose: Browned butter, maple syrup, caramel corn, and sweet toffee.

Palate: Brach's candy corn, jellied peach rings, and honey. This is balanced nicely with a slight oaky-dryness and baking spice.

Finish: Medium with spice and oak char, followed by vanilla and honey sweetness.

Overall: This, along with its high-rye sibling, deserve a spot on my shelf any day. This wheated bourbon is smooth and well-balanced. I did a side-by-side tasting with its high-rye counterpart - with an identical mash bill other than swapping the rye and wheat. While both are solid everyday pours, the Green River Wheated Bourbon by a nose. Be sure to check out these and some other bourbons that are being produced by the Green River Distillery.

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