photo credit: KentuckyBourbonWhiskey.com
NOAH’S MILL BOURBON
Age: 15 years old
Distillery: Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Bardstown, KY
Master Distiller: Drew Kulsveen
Small Grain: Rye
Even though I would classify Noah’s Mill as a wintertime bourbon, nothing has stopped me from drinking it year-round. Noah’s Mill is a product of Kentucky Bourbon Distillers (KBD). The operation has been family owned and bottling at the same location since 1935 under the name Willett Distilling Company.
Willett is a strange operation. Most of their products dont bear the names Willett or Kentucky Bourbon Distillers on the label. Instead they use fake distillery names like the Old Bardstown Distilling Company and Noah’s Mill Distilling Company. Why they would do that is beyond me.
I also find it odd that although they claim to be distillers, they didnt actually distill anything on site from the 1980s until 2012 – they only stored and bottled bourbons on site. During the American energy crisis of the 1970s, the company attempted to switch from distilling bourbon to producing gasoline. That failed miserably and the plant was temporarily shut down until it was purchased by the Kulsveen family in 1984.
Recently, the company has gotten back int actually distilling bourbon with their huge Willett Family Reserve line. More on those later; our topic of focus is Noah’s Mill!
In the glass, Noah’s Mill has a nice amber and caramel colored glow. At 114 proof, be ready to smell the fire coming out of the glass. It’s a warning of things to come. Behind the strong smell of alcohol, you will find aromas of old wood, citrus, and mint. Some people say they get cherry and plum. I didn’t. But I am doing this tasting in a cigar room, so….I get cigar in the nose as well.
HEAVEN HILL’S LARCENY BOURBON TASTING NOTES
Noah’s Mill is one of the most complex bourbon’s I have had in some time. Noah’s Mill bourbon is true to its nose – there is a rough, cough inducing burn up front. This isn’t a bad thing – you want a good burn in a bourbon.
I started this tasting neat, but to tame the flame I added an ice-cube to really be able to get at the flavors. The more the ice melts, the more flavors are unlocked. The first sip gives me wood, the second gives me citrus, the third gives me toffee, and over all there is a high rye spice kick. I was expecting char to jump out, but instead there is a nice nutty flavor.
The middle of the tasting is what makes me love Noah’s Mill. The initial burn and flavors meld together to deliver a minty taste (which is why I classified Noah’s Mill as a wintertime bourbon). I don’t believe I have ever tasted mint in another bourbon, but I definitely got it with Noah’s Mill!
Despite being a big bourbon, the finish is only moderate. You would expect a very long finish from a bourbon that’s aged for 15 years, but keep in mind, I’m doing my tasting on the rocks. Neat might be a different story.
I will say this; the finish might dissipate, but the flavors hang around for a while. There are some bourbons that you cant wait to stop tasting (Old Crow), and then there are the ones you wish would go on forever. Noah’s Mill is one of the former.
Noah’s Mill is my kind of bourbon, but there are things about it that might not be for everyone else. To get the full panorama of flavors, you may need to bruise the bourbon with ice or a few drops of water. If you don’t sip lightly, Noah’s Mill will burn you. It’s not as smooth as some other high-proof bourbon, and the structure can be just a tad awkward. Considering these facts, I give Noah’s Mill bourbon a B.
The structure isnt perfect, but this is still a remarkable bourbon. Before you pick up a bottle, you may want to give it a try at your local bourbon bar (I paid $11 for a pour). Of course, if you are planning a trip to Bourbon Country, Willett Distillery is part of the Official Bourbon Trail’s artisan distillery tour, so you will get a chance to try it along with the rest of their line in person with the family that owns the operation.
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