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31 Jan 2024 | Jeremy Dugan


February’s Spirit of the Month is Green River’s Wheated Bourbon. Whiskey is still a growing category, and a lot of smart Bourbon producers are making a wheated expression to help newcomers ease into the world of American Whiskey. By law, bourbon must have a mashbill (what the whiskey is made of) of at least 51% corn, along with rye, malted barley and wheat. It must be aged in new oak and made in the United States. Anytime another grain is mentioned on the label, such as wheated bourbon or high-rye bourbon, you can assume that there is a significant percentage of that grain in the bourbon. For Green River’s Wheated Bourbon, you are looking at a mashbill of 70% corn, 21% wheat and 9% malted barley. What you get on the palate is vibrant baking spices with caramel and soft notes of rye spice. Subtle stone fruit adds to the mouthfeel and leads to more spice on the finish. While the spice lingers on your palate, there is no harsh bite. And that is the purpose of using more wheat and the addition of malted barley, that spice/heat that can be found in American Whiskeys becomes soft and much more approachable.  While Green River might be new to a lot of people, their history dates back to 1885.

John. W. McCulloch opened Green River distillery in Owensboro, Kentucky making it the 10th distillery in the state at the time. And from 1885 to 1955, the distillery gained a lot of popularity. By 1907 they were the most advertised whiskey in the world. From 1913-1931 Green River was the official whiskey of the U.S. Marine Hospital, must have been cheaper than anesthesia. The whiskey was such good quality, it was referred to “the whiskey without a headache”. Sadly, like many of the whiskeys being made at the time, prohibition put a halt on the whiskey train. Though Green River continued after the 21st amendment, it limped into being discontinued by 1955. Master Distillery Jacob Call (an eight generation distiller) is who we have to thank for reviving Green River and opening a new facility at the original location of Green River in Owensboro, Kentucky in 2016. Jacob did such a good job that in the last part of 2023 Bardstown Bourbon Company (another brand we are familiar with and big fans of here) purchased Green River. Don’t read that and be scared! Bardstown Bourbon Company is a company that will only do good with the name Green River. I look forward to see what else comes from DSP-KY-10.

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