Milam & Greene Whiskey has released its Very Small Batch Straight Bourbon Whiskey: Batch 1.
A statement from the brand notes that this whiskey marks several company milestones, including the introduction of the first bourbon distilled by Milam & Greene in Kentucky, the first whiskey to be finished with French oak staves, and the first addition to the Milam & Greene core portfolio in more than two years.
To make this inaugural batch of Milam & Greene Very Small Batch Bourbon, Master Blender Heather Greene said they harvested 75 bourbon barrels, those being a combination of bourbon distilled by Master Distiller Marlene Holmes in Kentucky using the proprietary Milam & Greene mash bill along with barrels of Tennessee bourbon.
Greene said the barrel recipe for Batch 1 is made up of 20% of the Kentucky barrels and 80% of the Tennessee barrels. The barrels are then divided into smaller batches, and married in 1,000-gallon vatting tanks before final aging.
“At Milam & Greene, everything we do is in limited quantities because of our size, but I know the big whiskey geek question is ‘exactly how small is this release?’” Greene said. “With 75 bourbon barrels, we can release 1,500 nine-liter cases of Very Small Batch Bourbon. The amount of people who will be able to purchase this bottle is approximately 0.00451% of the entire population based on current U.S. Census numbers, a detail that delights our fans and makes me laugh at the same time.”
Greene described the Kentucky whiskey base in Very Small Batch Bourbon as using their signature mash bill of 70% corn, 22% malted rye, and 8% malted barley.
The use of malted rye, she said, provides a rich texture and nuttiness that makes it approachable at a young age. For Batch 1, the barrels are aged in Kentucky and then Texas for almost four years.
The Tennessee bourbon was distilled with a mash bill of 80% corn, 10% rye, and 10% malted barley. The distiller noted that the particular barrels for Very Small Batch Bourbon were chosen for their unique flavor character and will vary slightly from batch to batch reflecting the influence of the environment as the whiskey matures.
Greene described the barrel selection process as “based not only on their current quality but also on predictions for the flavor development over time in barrels.” She chooses the location for barrel aging to ensure the extraction of the most flavor.
This batch is a reflection of the climate on whiskey from three different states: Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas.
“Using very small batches as the heart of our new whiskey allows for greater control over the final product,” Greene added. “It takes much more attention to detail to produce an elegant whiskey using smaller quantities of bourbon and three different climates, but it allows for an incredible amount of artistry in flavor.”
Very Small Batch Bourbon is finished with French oak staves, from casks that once held both tawny Port wine and then Milam & Greene’s rye whiskey. Those barrels were broken down, then “cooked” in the 100-degree Texas summer sun, then house-charred to a crisp on the outside only.
Those crispy, rye-kissed staves are tied in bundles then steeped in Very Small Batch Bourbon for about two weeks in the vatting tanks. The distilling team tastes the bourbon daily during the finishing process to ensure a balance of flavors.
The distiller’s notes show that on the nose, this whiskey is sweet with some nuttiness, soft vanilla, and French toast aromas. The palate is fruit-forward sweetness at the beginning, evolving to notes of black tea with fresh baked biscuit flavors in the mid-palate. The finish lingers with notes of fresh black pepper, cardamom and a hint of wintergreen.
Very Small Batch Bourbon clocks in at 108 proof, 54% ABV. It has a suggested retail price of $69.99 at select retailers in the U.S. and in Alberta, Canada as well as available on the Milam & Greene website. It’s also in the distillery’s tasting room.
This whiskey will be released twice a year, with Batch 2 coming this fall. For more information, or to find a bottle, check out milamandgreenewhiskey.com.
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