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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Bourbon

Jefferson's Very Small Batch

Thomas Jefferson is considered by many to be one of the most influential of the Founding Fathers. Credited with drafting the Declaration of Independence during the sweltering months of June and early July 1776, Jefferson went on to serve as Secretary of State for George Washington and, ultimately, as the third president. Jefferson's Very Small batch pays homage to this patriot, governor, legislator, and President.

Dedicated to Research and Development The Jefferson bourbon lineup was founded in 1997 by Louisville native Trey Zoeller and his famous father and bourbon historian Chet Zoeller. A family history of making whiskey can be traced back 8 generations to a grandmother arrested in 1799 for the "production and sales of spirituous liquors". Castle Brands, a subsidiary of Pernod-Ricard, purchased the brand in 2005. For the next 10 years, Jefferson's utilized other distillers for their bourbons and whiskeys. Beginning in 2015, they moved into the Kentucky Artisan Distillery. While it's likely that a portion of the bourbon in the Very Small Batch remains sourced, rumors have it that Very Small Batch contains about 25% of their own distillate. Jefferson's has always been known for creative and innovative products to push the boundaries of traditional bourbon, including various finishing techniques. An example of their R&D is Jefferson's Ocean, introduced in 2012 as a collaboration between Jefferson's and Chris Fischer, founder of OCEARCH, a nonprofit dedicated to marine species research. In this joint venture, barrels of Jefferson's bourbon are aged on deck, exposed to the rocking of the waves and subjected to salty ocean spray. While our Founding Father George Washington was known for producing rye whiskey at his Mount Vernon estate, Thomas Jefferson was well known as a wine connoisseur. Refraining from more potent alcohol, his records at Monticello show that he regularly purchased whiskey for his workers. "The ardent wines I cannot drink, nor do I use ardent spirits in any form." The Tasting Jefferson's Very Small Batch is a blend of 4 bourbons, leading to an overall mash bill of 60% corn, 30% rye, and 10% malted barley. There is no age statement, however most believe this is a blend of 6-10 year bourbons. The tag on the bottle indicates that this small batch bourbon has been aged in barrels with a very light char, allowing a myriad of secondary flavors to express themselves. The result is an approachable, smooth bourbon. It's layered, but easy drinking with a finish that allows the flavors to come to the forefront. The finished product is bottled at a low 82.3 proof. Color: Golden copper that emits thin, lacy legs when swirled in the glass.

Nose: Vanilla and butterscotch with lighter notes of an orange dreamcicle.

Palate: Vanilla with gentle spice and lightly toasted oak. There is light cinnamon and orange zest. Finish: Medium in length. Soft with vanilla, oak and allspice. Overall: This isn't a super unique tasting bourbon. Priced at around $32 places it in a highly competitive space of bourbons and small batch bourbons. The low-proof makes for a light and easy sipper, especially for those newer to bourbon or wanting to expand their palate beyond the major entry-level distillers.

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