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Noah's Mill

Rich Cask Strength Bourbon

0 992

@AboutChoiceReview by @AboutChoice

13th Dec 2010

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    92

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Noah’s Mill (NM), a small batch Bourbon, bottled at 57.17% ABV, and produced by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd, Bardstown, KY, is the boldest offering in their Small Batch Collection: Noah’s Mill, Rowan’s Creek, Pure Kentucky XO, and Kentucky Vintage. They also distill Johnny Drum Old-fashioned Sour Mash Whiskey, Vintage Bourbon 17, and the Old Bardstown series. Though my bottle has neither an age statement nor a batch number, many descriptions indicate a maturity of 15 years. Finally, Noah’s Mill is one of the elite members of rare cask-strength bourbons. According to the distiller, NM is bottled at a strength that best compliments its age … which gives me the feeling that, although the ABV is right up there, it may not, technically, be at cask-strength.

Though not a ubiquitous whiskey, I have seen NM now and then on the internet, and I suppose I was attracted by its rarity and seemingly small production as compared to the mainstream bourbons. The label on its wine-type bottle, which appears almost hand-designed, also generates a degree of fascination

Bottle Nose: Tantalizing old cask, dried fruit, licorice, and butterscotch. Dried residue likely contributes to the bottle nose, but this is such a treat with these mature bourbons … and often a better predictor of the imminent taste experience.

Glass Nose: After resting for 10 minutes, we have old piney wood, tobacco and leather.

Palate: Tasting the smallest sip possible without water, your tongue receives a blast of concentrated medium-sweet brown sugar and then dry and leathery old-wood flavor. There are also hints of mint and tobacco. Do not dare to swallow yet, until the nectar has spent some time on the palate, while self-diluting, and then in its own time, has percolated down. When it is all over, there is no doubt that you have just consumed something bold and remarkable!

Finish: You will need to sit down for this lovely and warming medium-long ending … a moment of silence, a catalyst for contemplation … a panacea for all ailments. Upon returning to reality, you notice that there was no bitterness and little or no burn … only a lingering soft and warm dryness.

Conclusion: Noah’s Mill Bourbon may well be, at near cask strength, about as good as bourbon gets; I have gleaned that sometimes a bourbon that has been too long in the barrel, tends to become overly woody and looses what it has taken so long to achieve. I do not believe this is the case with Noah’s Mill.

For those Scotch drinkers who have tasted and enjoyed Macallan Cask, Laphroaig Cask or Aberlour a’bunadh, the cask strength adventure with Noah’s Mill will be familiar. Though NM may neither be a “go-to” nor a desert-island whiskey, you will want to have such a high-octane bottle in reserve or those moments in which you are thinking: “take me to another land!” ... might that be Kentucky?

If done properly, NM is quite drinkable and highly rewarding w/o water. Adding water, sometimes for me, transforms NM into a full-bodied and luscious dram (not a problem at all), but also drops it down out of the bold, sock-it-to-me category … thus loosing that flagrant cask-strength flavor rush. It would seem that the proper dram for these fine high-ABV whiskies would be no more than 1/2 oz (15ml), and that slowly experiencing small sips would take 20 to 30 minutes.

Today I am enjoying NM a bit over the 63% Booker’s … one of its few heavy-weight bourbon peers … I think it might be the slight bitterness I find in Booker’s (although indeed a fine drink itself). Also, I feel that NM is smoother, richer and sweeter than Booker’s. Another peer that comes to mind is George T. Stagg bourbon at a staggering 70%, which begs to be tasted next to Noah’s Mill.

Well I just came in from shoveling a blustery snow, and I am now giving this writing a final review, along with a few sips of Noah’s Mill … indeed the perfect dram to rejuvenate the spirit and warm the innards !

Score: 92/100

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9 comments

@dbk
dbk commented

Yet another cracking review, @AboutChoice! Like Vintage 17, I'll have to take a closer look at Noah's Mill next time it crosses my path.

8 years ago 0

@markjedi1
markjedi1 commented

@AboutChoice, that sounds very tantalizing indeed. I'm putting this on my wish list!

8 years ago 0

@flyfish
flyfish commented

I understand that Kentucky Bourbon Distillers does not actually distill--they buy in bulk from other distillers (usually Heaven Hill) and bottle the product. Frankly, I don't understand how they do it. How do you start with "bulk" bourbon and end up with a very highly rated premium whiskey? And why in the world would HH sell them such wonderful stuff instead of bottling it themselves? Anybody out there have some insight?

8 years ago 0

@dbk
dbk commented

"Bulk" whiskey isn't necessarily bad whiskey, and it's not necessarily in the interests of the distiller (Heaven Hill or whomever else that may be) to gamble on the market when they have a sure bet—a contract, that is—with an independent bottler. Certainly, the Scotch industry thrives on selling their spirits to independent bottlers and even to other distilleries for use in blends. Moreover, independent bottlers can age the whiskey themselves, as I believe Kentucky Bourbon Distillers does. Finally, an independent bottler might source and "co-mingle" whiskey from more than one distillery. All of this can go a long way to making good whiskey even better, or at least different from what else is on the market.

8 years ago 0

@Wills
Wills commented

Well I never heard of this Bourbon before today. So I read Mark's new review and got quite interested. Then I read this amazing review and I am just blown away. I have to try this one!

Thx for the review, it is indeed one of the best I have read so far.

7 years ago 0

@AboutChoice
AboutChoice commented

Hi @Wills, thanks very much for your kind comments. If you are able to find a bottle, I hope you enjoy it.

7 years ago 0

@Wills
Wills commented

I got my bottle last weekend and I am glad that I got it through you guys. Just awesome stuff! Very rich and intense.

7 years ago 0

@AboutChoice
AboutChoice commented

Hey Wills, thanks for the comment, and glad you like it. I'm going to have to find another bottle pretty soon ... for those special moments !

7 years ago 0

@Wills
Wills commented

Bottle is half gone, so I wrote a review by myself. As you can see I still like it very much ;)

One thing I still have to do is try it diluted.

7 years ago 0

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