5 Mar 2013
As bourbons go, Noah’s Mill is a mysterious breed. It’s a product of Kentucky Bourbon Distillers (KBD), which until a year or two ago didn’t distill its own bourbon, instead buying bourbon from other distilleries. So the exact origin of the contents of this $50-60 bottle of Kentucky bourbon are unknown. (If you are wondering what bourbons are made where, this is one of the best lists I’ve seen at sorting out the known links between distilleries and bottles.)
Further, while for many years Noah’s Mill held an age statement of 15 years (meaning the youngest bourbon in the bottle was at least 15 years old), the bourbon recently eliminated its age statement. Multiple reports I’ve read (including this one) say that KBD was having trouble securing adequate amounts of 15-year-old bourbon, so they reformulated the recipe with bourbons ranging from 4 to 20 years of age, with a variety of different mash bills.
The result is the most acclaimed member of KBD’s small batch collection, which also includes Rowan’s Creek, Pure Kentucky XO, and Kentucky Vintage. Bottled at a “near barrel-strength” of 57.15% (or 114.3-proof) there is more unknown than known about this bourbon, which lets you simply evaluate it for how it drinks, as opposed to the decades or centuries of bourbon history that accompany many Kentucky spirits.
Noah’s Mill doesn’t have as much alcohol heat on the nose as you might expect from a nearly 115-proof spirit. Instead, the deep reddish-brown bourbon features lots of wood, leather, and brown spice aromas.
On the palate, once again, the lack of heat despite the relatively high proof surprises. Normally I’m one to water down (at least with a few drops) anything much over 100-proof, but this doesn’t need it, which predicably can lead to sneaky results if you have more than a glass or two.
Wood (to be expected given the 20-year age of some of the blend), maple syrup, baker’s spices, toffee, and raisin are all apparent. The finish is very long with woody spice and a hint of mint.
All in all, an excellent bourbon for those who like the woodiness of extra old bourbon. (Mix Booker’s with Pappy van Winkle and you’d end up with something like Noah’s Mill.) And at $50 a bottle (shop around; there’s a wide range of prices) it’s a good deal on a mysteriously tasty spirit.
photo credit: Stogie Guys