Jefferson's Reserve

Jefferson's is a brand of bourbons owned by McLain & Kyne, which is in turn owned by Castle Brands.  Castle sources its whiskeys from unnamed producers and makes it money blending and marketing their products.

Master blender Trey Zoeller from Louisivlle founded Jefferson's in 1997 with his father Chet.  Trey named the brand after Thomas Jefferson because he had no marketing budget and wanted his brand to be associated with history, tradition, and good taste.

The "Very Old" Reserve was the first of the Jefferson's line, and is considered to be on the lower end of their spectrum now, considering the other Jefferson's offerings (Collaboration, Ocean, and Presidential Select).

While the other super premium Jefferson's blends are good, they are wildly expensive for the experience, in our opinion.  The Reserve is a classic and the best bang for your buck.

Jefferson's Reserve "Very Old" Bourbon

Castle Brands (Producer Unknown)
90.2 proof
$39 at ABC in Salisbury, NC
Bottle No. 0541/2400, Batch 214

Color: Light amber.

Nose: The nose had an initial alcohol bite, probably because I reviewed the first pour of this bottle.  After a few minutes of air time, the tinge disappeared revealing a creamy, sweet smelling experience.  I get warm bread, almonds, caramel and vanilla.  There are also some deeper notes of green oak and smoky barrel char.

Tasting Notes: The entrance is silky smooth and generally sweet with classic caramel and brown sugar.  The sip is balanced by mid palate bite- baking chocolate, barrel char, cinnamon.  The finish was spicy, long and satisfying. 

Overall: B+.  Jefferson's Reserve is apparently "very old" (although Castle doesn't say how old), and it is "very small batch" (Zoeller blends between 8-12 barrels per batch).  Its age and complexity are evident when compared to the cheaper Jefferson's Small Batch).  At $40, it's a good value bourbon.