September 29, 2023

The Good Life: An beneath the radar bourbon gem

Steve Palec

Simply to be clear, if I write a complete column about one explicit bourbon, I’m not being compensated, influenced or cajoled. (Though I wouldn’t rule out that occuring at some future level.) However I feel I’ve discovered an important deal on an beneath the radar bourbon and I need to share it with you, free of charge.

I not too long ago crossed paths with Inexperienced River, sometimes a $30 to $35 bottle of bourbon, and located it to be actually spectacular for the value. And there may be nothing like discovering an important deal earlier than the lots catch on!

Inexperienced River is just not a glowing new, NFT-like, 3D-printed new child on the block. I simply hadn’t heard of it earlier than and found that it comes from one of many oldest distilleries in Kentucky—1885-old, that’s. However any oversight on my half could be forgiven since, regardless of its superb tales and legacies, Inexperienced River Distilling was derailed by hearth, prohibition, conflict and a few century of mendacity low.

Over time, relations of the founder, different households, different distillers, firms and conglomerates have stored the distillery’s unique location in Owensboro, Kentucky. Inexperienced River’s founder, Colonel John W. McCulloch, known as his bourbon “the whiskey with out regrets.” Fast apart: along with contemplating smoothness, style and basic likability, I decide bourbon, like wine, by how seemingly it’s to offer me regrets. And I are likely to suppose that whether it is actually low-cost, it’s most likely gonna give me a headache.

As a result of I acknowledge that I’m not a practiced reviewer—I simply know what I like—I needed to see what actual opinions stated about Inexperienced River. They largely appeared to concur that it’s a very good bourbon with hints of toffee, pastry, hazelnut, cinnamon, vanilla and caramel. Which is why I’m not a reviewer: I just about solely style bourbon. However when I’m having fun with a drink, I confidently say there are normally not hints of Slim Jim, Popeyes rooster or Bazooka bubblegum.

I additionally ought to admit that the very first thing I consider when listening to “Inexperienced River” is the picture painted in my thoughts of catfish and dragon flies from the Creedence Clearwater Revival tune of the identical title a few creek in California. However to my shock, there really is one other recording whereby you possibly can hear a reference to Inexperienced River bourbon.

It’s on the album “Sinatra at The Sands,” a 1966 launch of a Frank Sinatra present on the well-known Vegas on line casino. Musically, the album contains completely timeless basic songs, carried out completely. But it surely additionally incorporates a few his very “completely different period” monologues that would simply crop up in an “All within the Household” script and get somebody immediately cancelled immediately. At one level, Frank describes his first employer, Main Bowles, as consuming Inexperienced River bourbon, which, he says, “takes the paint off your deck should you’ve obtained a ship. Fifty-nine cents a gallon, child!!!”

The person behind Inexperienced River bourbon, the aforementioned Col. McCulloch, was so forward of his time that he might need been the one man within the late 1800s who ended his sentences with “child!!!”

McCulloch was a political appointee answerable for testing the power of bourbons, and thru that connection, he purchased into the Inexperienced River operation in 1888. He evidently wasn’t afraid to spend cash. He constructed a facility with what, again then, was a really expensive building, together with skylights to convey mild into the bourbon ageing course of. He additionally as soon as traded 20 barrels of his bourbon for a stake in a Colorado gold mine. Actually and really fortunately. By the way in which, Inexperienced River’s bottle is curved like a horseshoe.

With all that historical past, you’d suppose somebody would have talked about one thing to me about Inexperienced River over the previous 138 years. I’m glad I simply found it. It is a strong bourbon aged 5 years, and I can safely name it “an quaint cut price, child!!!”

Steve Palec is chief advertising and marketing officer of Milwaukee-based business actual property improvement agency Irgens.