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Corner Creek

Down on the Corner (Creek)

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@dbkReview by @dbk

19th Sep 2010

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Overall
    74

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Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon Whiskey is produced by the Corner Creek Distilling Company of Bardstown, KY, one of Even Kulsveen’s ventures. Kulsveen’s other products include Rowan’s Creek, Noah’s Mill, and the Vintage Bourbon that AboutChoice endorsed so highly in his excellent review (connosr.com/reviews/vintage/…).

The contents of the bottle are perhaps not what struck me first, as the bottle itself is peculiar. With deep, sloping shoulders, one could easily take Corner Creek for a wine bottle—indeed, this was the very mistake made by the cashier when I bought it. Uncorking the green bottle and pouring a dram, the color is a lovely honey-gold, though it seems a touch translucent.

Dill is initially prominent on the nose, subsiding only to be overtaken by an intemperate mix of rye, sawdust, and shredded wheat. Persistent notes of menthol (alongside the green bottle) trick the nose into believing that it is an Irish whiskey, not a bourbon, swirling in the glass. Faint hints of lime, dates, corn, vanilla, and brown sugar eventually come through, but make little impression. All in all, it’s a bit thin and waxy.

On the palate are notes of vanilla and banana, but little of the characteristic bourbon sweetness one might expect; instead, there is considerable rye spice that dominates the finish. And yet, it altogether seems plain and thin, with a decidedly waxy mouthfeel. With far more interesting bourbons at the same price point, I’m afraid Corner Creek Reserve leaves little to rave about.

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11 comments

@LeFrog
LeFrog commented

Very unusual bottle shape for a whiskey, it looks like a desert wine!

8 years ago 0

@dbk
dbk commented

Yes, @LeFrog, it is unusual. I think this is a classic case of an indecisive whiskey--bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey, Irish whiskey, or (dessert) wine!

8 years ago 0

@AboutChoice
AboutChoice commented

Well @dbk, Corner Creek has been a bit problematic for me … I have usually liked it a lot, but then there have been those other days when I felt it was thin and uninteresting. So, due to your review, I conducted two blind tastes of Corner Creek with 3 other peer bourbons, on two days, to determine whether I currently like it, and how it compares to its peers. The palate was properly primed, and I chose times when the palate was at its best.

First tasting, for Corner Creek (CC) (no water): Nose: inviting, vanilla, candy, butter, potent. Palate: luscious, syrupy, sweet, deep and complex. Long finish. I liked CC and most of the peers very much; Buffalo Trace and Rowans Creek were a tad better.

Second tasting, for Corner Creek (CC) (with water): Nose: floral cardboard, different from bourbon. Palate: sweet, pleasant, smooth, lighter, floral (like 4 Roses). I rated CC as very good, but Makers Mark was better; Buffalo Trace & Bulleit seemed dry, but nice.

Second tasting (without water): Palate for CC was deep, sweet, assertive, with a medium warm finish, Makers dropped down, but Buffalo Trace & Bulleit both tied with CC, as very nice and easy to drink.

So I guess I like Corner Creek bourbon (this week), and have evidence to support my position :) :)

8 years ago 0

@dbk
dbk commented

@AboutChoice, I suspected that if anyone was going to legitimately cry "fowl" over my review, it was going to be you—you've told me more than once about your affection for Corner Creek.

Unlike you, my experience with CC has been consistently disappointing. I had heard fairly positive things about CC online, but since the day I cracked the bottle, I have found it thin, unbalanced, and uninteresting. It's not a terrible whiskey, to my taste, but well below others around the same price point. Plausibly, something changed between your and my bottle, and you simply have a better batch than I. My bottle was released in Ontario within the last six months; how old is yours?

Your tasting methodology is great and, since you've finally jumped the review hurdle and starting writing some excellent ones yourself, I hope you'll post a full review of CC sometime soon!

8 years ago 0

@AboutChoice
AboutChoice commented

Hi @dbk, rest assured, no intention of crying "fowl" here, just intrigued by our different experience with CC. Actually I'm quite glad you reviewed it, as I have been "on the fence" with CC for some time, and this was the opportunity for me to now decide, more definitely, where i stand with this bottle :-)

My bottle came from Michigan early in 2010. As a result of this tiny adventure, although I still usually like CC a lot, it does not significantly stand out amoung its peers, such as Buffalo Trace, Bulleit and Makers. But, as you allude, the wine bottle is certaintly novel. Let's see ... how much time did I spend on this "critical" task ! :-)

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@dbk and @AboutChoice, opening up an old heavily flogged issue: additional tastings of Corner Creek Bourbon continue to leave me with one central observation, that the wheat and rye flavours here just clash with one another and do not produce either a pleasant whole or even a pleasant balance between the two. Has either of you had any of the Woodford Reserve Four Grain? I have not, but I am curious as to whether their 'experiment' with putting wheat and rye together gave an enjoyable result.

8 years ago 0

@AboutChoice
AboutChoice commented

@Victor, so that's it ... thank you for explaining the flavor (non-flavor?) of Corner Creek (rye + wheat). I am impressed and curious as to how you are able to come up with the ingredients for most bottlings ? :)

I've been engaging in some bourbon tasting this week, and I am enjoying the semi-sweet, soft and somewhat leathery character of CC. But as a further, albeit subjective discovery, I find that Sam Houston and Hirsch Selection Small Batch Reserve, both of which I like, share to a degree, that same flavor profile with CC. Similar grains ?

No WR Four Grain yet, but I like Woodford Res as a novelty, one-of-a-kind bourbon.

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@AboutChoice, Corner Creek is actually pretty famous,albeit in obscure bourbon-lovers circles, for being one of the very few bourbons which contains both "flavoring grains", wheat and rye. I have heard of the Woodford Reserve Four Grain, which came out in 2006 but I have not sampled it. The WRFG was apparently rather well received. I am pretty sure that Sam Houston is a standard rye-containing bourbon, and I don't know about the Hirsch, but would suspect that it is as well.

8 years ago 0

@dbk
dbk commented

Always glad to see a review of mine garner more discussion ; )

@Victor, I haven't tried the Woodford Reserve Four Grain, but I should point out that Corner Creek's "four grain" pedigree is quite nebulous. They mention corn, wheat, and rye, but not barley, which is very odd. Moreover, given that it is independently bottled, it is probably a vatting of ryed and wheated bourbons, rather than derived from a single rye-wheat bourbon mash. It is also possible that the label is simply wrong, and it is a standard ryed bourbon, without any trace of wheat at all.

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@dbk, imagine that, bottlers who may not be completely forthcoming in the release of information about their products!

8 years ago 0

@dbk
dbk commented

I know, what a shock! : p

8 years ago 0

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