Whiskey Acres Binny's Barrel Pick
While many think that bourbon can only be produced in Kentucky (and yes, 95% of the world's bourbon comes from the Commonwealth), great bourbon is produced in many locales across the country. One such site is the Whiskey Acres Distillery in DeKalb, Illinois. Today we check out a handpicked Whiskey Acres Single Barrel #124, selected by Binny's Beverage Depot.
Whiskey Acres began distilling in 2014 in a farm-to-bottle style. Family farmers Jim Walter and his son Jamie, along with marketing expertise from Nick Nagele have allowed them to utilize their 2,000 acre farm to produce spirits. Grown onsite are the corn, wheat, and rye that supply distilling operations.
Initial products included clear spirits as well as a rye whiskey and straight bourbon. In the Fall of 2020, they released their first Bottled-in-Bond expression. Whiskey Acres continues to add uniqueness to their lineup, including a Four Grain Bourbon and even a Blue Popcorn Bourbon. A small onsite pot still produces the distillate that is then aged in true Midwestern style - metal grain bins. While on the surface this may resemble something out of the Moonshiners TV series, remember that these thin metal walls allow the full effect of hot, humid summers and chilly winters to work their magic and push the whiskeys deep into the oak barrels.
Whiskey Acres bottles carry their iconic corn moniker. This handpicked single barrel (#124), selected by the Binny's Beverage Depot chain based in Chicago, Illinois, is produced with their flagship mash bill: 75% corn, 15% wheat, and 10% malted barley. The finished product has been aged in a #3 charred American oak barrel. The bottle indicates it was barreled on 10/20/2015, has been aged at least two years. Bottles from this release were proofed to a healthy 118.4 proof and are non-chill filtered to allow some of the esters and fatty oils to remain.
Eye: Deep red copper with aged copper tints. We're unsure of the exact length of aging, but this looks like a bourbon that has experienced some time in the grain bill warehouse.
Nose: Notes of vanilla, toffee and Brach's Candy Orange Slices followed by warm cornbread and honey.
Palate: Cornbread and buttered sweet corn front and center, followed by vanilla, oak char grains burst, followed by vanilla, charred oak and spice. This one drinks surprisingly smooth for the high proof. If I hadn't seen it on the bottle, I would have easily assumed this was more like 100 proof. A drop or two of water smooths this pour out and dramatically dropped the spicy finish.
Finish: Long with an initial dose of baking spices, cornbread and vanilla.
Overall: This is a high-proof single barrel from a Midwestern distillery that continues to innovate, evolve, and develop their unique profile. I've enjoyed my time at their farm-to-bottle distillery and visitor experience and watch with interest as their operations grow. I'll be very curious to see how their longer-aged products improve on an already solid foundation.