Walking down the aisles of a Kentucky big-box liquor store, my daughter grabbed this bottle and said, “Have you had this one yet?” Can’t say that I have – add it to the cart – it’s worth a shot … or two.
A Name that J.R. Would Be Proud Of
Wildcatter Bourbon draws its heritage from a bourbon brand created by Glenn McCarthy six decades ago. Glenn was a wildcatter in the truest sense, An independent oilman who dropped out of high school, he sunk two wells by the age of 26 to become a millionaire. By the time he passed away in 1988, he’d sunk nearly 1,000 oil and gas wells. In addition to oil fields, he went on to own banks radio stations, newspapers, chemical companies, steel mills, a motion picture production company, and thousands of acres of real estate – in addition to the West Texas ranch he owned covering 15,000 acres. Truly a man that the Ewings of the Dallas sitcom would be proud of.
In the 1950s, Glenn placed his Wildcatter label on sourced bourbon. In a nod to the wildcatter lifestyle, he promised that if the venture failed, he’d drink the inventory himself. Today, the brand carries forward the same sourced bourbon legacy, but is bottled by Elite Brands of Fairfield, California.
Wildcatter carries an 8-year age statement on its label. It is bottled at 90 proof and the mash bill and distiller are undisclosed, other than it is labeled as Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Color: Medium copper.
Nose: A great, classic bourbon nose, with caramel, vanilla, light fruit and spice. For an undisclosed Kentucky distiller, I’m impressed.
Palate: Caramel, vanilla, and dark stone fruits are at the forefront, followed with light spice and wood. A slightly thin mouthfeel. Pleasing and nicely balanced.
Finish: Medium in length with a sweet and peppercorn spice followed by oak.
Overall: I was unsure when I put this one in the cart. At around $35, and 8-year age statement, and an undisclosed distiller, I was a little hesitant. Overall, though, I was pleasantly surprised. There was nice balance with classic bourbon characteristics. I’ll be curious how this brand evolves, if they’ll disclose the producer, or if they’ll begin to bottle their own distillate.