Whiskey Acres Blue Popcorn
It’s been a few years since we last visited the Whiskey Acres Distillery in DeKalb. Since that time, they’ve expanded their lineup to introduce a Bottled-in-Bond version as well as barrel-strength versions. This time, they’ve experimented with using blue popcorn - yes, like the stuff you’d pop and eat a bowl of - as the primary grain.
Growing Your Bourbon Local
When operations began at Whiskey Acres in 2014, the founders sought to provide a true farm-to-bottle operation. 2,000 acres of Midwestern farm ground serves as the source for the corn, wheat, and rye used in their spirits. Owners Jim and Jamie Walter, along with Nick Nagele, serve as farmers and craft distillers, ultimately replicating a process that early settlers utilized to transport crops easily and convert bulky grains into liquid currency.
Whiskey Acres Blue Popcorn straight bourbon whiskey comes in a heavy glass bottle adorned with a blue label and a stamp indicating it is part of its artisan series. It is bottled at 97 proof. The bottle indicates it is aged at least 4 years and utilizes their own homegrown grains. As with all of the bourbons from Whiskey Acres, it is non-chill filtered.
From the Whiskey Acres website, we’re told to expect aromas that take you to a movie theater. Caramel apple, toffee popcorn and fruit candies compliment the rich, warm oak and vanilla notes that finishes with complex wood spice.
Eye: Dark amber with medium legs on the sides of my Glencarin glass. I’m impressed with the Whiskey Acres aging process that produces products that have a hefty dose of exposure to American oak.
Nose: Caramel corn mixed with kettle corn, layered with candied orange slices.
Palate: Corn pudding with clove, allspice, and oak char. A couple of drops of water tames the spice and oak notes bringing the caramel and toffee notes forward. The non-chill filtration allows a slightly thicker chew.
Finish: Long with caramel, baking spices, and oak.
Overall: This is an interesting introduction from Whiskey Acres. They continue to experiment and evolve their lineup. I appreciate the uniqueness of their artisan series and, similar to Bluegrass Distillers, test out blue corn as the primary grain.
While I enjoyed this selection, I felt it still held onto a smidge of its youth. I’d love to see if some of the corn-forward notes could mellow and the flavor profile could deepen with an extra year of age. As I’ve said before, I’ll continue to keep my eyes on this Northern Illinois operation as they hit their stride.