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Average score from 3 reviews and 5 ratings 87


Product details

  • Brand: Wathen's
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 47.0%

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This is a wonderful Single Barrel Bourbon that is distilled in Owensboro, Kentucky. I can only find it in one store near where I live, so it is worth finding. It sells for $35 US and can probably be found cheaper elsewhere. I have been keeping a bottle of this in my cabinet for the last few years.

I normally prefer wheated bourbons, but the rye in this one is done very well. As usuaal with good bourbons, the nose conjures up images of thoroughbred racing from the leather. This one is very smooth and not too sweet. It is so smooth that it can disappear rather quickly in the bottle, if you know what I mean.


Intro: This is my second reviewed bottle of Wathen's Single Barrel Bourbon. My sister bought a bottle of Wathen's Single Barrel from barrel #1296 which I thought was great, so I bought this bottle from Wathen's Single Barrel #1303 for myself shortly thereafter. This reviewed barrel was bottled on 1-21-2011. There is no age statement on the bottle, though reports online are that this whisky is 8 years old. Wathen's Single Barrel is distilled at the Charles Wathen Medley Distillery in Owensboro, Kentucky. The Medley family members have been in the whiskey business since 1788. The reviewed bottle has been open for four weeks.

Nose: first, there is strong intensity honey, maple, oak, and citrus. There is also mint here, both spearmint and even some peppermint. Black pepper, cloves and cinnamon are noticeable from the rye grain. The alcohol greeting is relatively strong, which detracts from an otherwise very interesting, enjoyable, and complex nose.

Taste: Soft silky honey sweetness accompanies strong maple flavours and significant citrus. The black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon from the nose are also present on the palate. The mint on the nose does not transfer to the palate. The alcohol greeting on the palate is moderate and not as strong as on the nose.

Finish: the flavours linger long, with a lot of caramel and vanilla wood flavours present at the end of a slow fade out. Some spice, mostly black pepper, remains through most of the finish, but there is a lot of citrus flavour here as well, which, to my palate clashes with the other flavours.

Balance: I found my sister's bottle from barrel # 1296 to be wonderful, but this bottle from barrel # 1303 is not as good by a large measure. I find that the citrus here is very distracting to the overall balance, and renders both the palate and the finish much less enjoyable. In this reviewed sample the promise of the nose is not well delivered on the palate as well.

If I were judging Wathen's solely on this bottle from this barrel, I would not be enthusiastic about it. # 1296 was a far better barrel, however, so that I know that Wathen's does produce some excellent product.

I remind myself that it is possible for there to be a significant difference in taste profiles from different single barrels of the same-named whiskey. My hope for this bottle of whiskey is that 6 to 12 months of having the bottle open will allow the strong citrus flavours to dissipate and that then the flavours will harmonise much better.

@Fiver67, it is interesting that you were writing up your comment just as I was writing up my comment on this whiskey on which I am commenting and about which I have not commented since I reviewed over 2 years ago.

This was my second review of a Wathen's Single Barrel. The first one was great, this one, not.

Interesting to me that Wathen's seems similar to you to Four Roses Small Batch. To me Four Roses has a "house style" which is very identifiable...all Four Roses tastes like Four Roses to me, and I have never thought that anything else, including Wathen's, tasted very similar to any of their products. When I taste the Wathen's and think of your comment, I still notice that there is more pointedness to the Wathen's than to ANY Four Roses product(though I consider Bulleit Bourbon to be the closest thing to 'pointed' that Four Roses makes.) Four Roses is extraordinarily "rounded" and soft, even at 35% rye content. I do not know how they do that, because it is much different from other bourbons. It took me a LONG time to get to liking Four Roses, because I like the pointed flavours. In comparison to something like Wild Turkey, which is like being in a boxing match, tasting Four Roses was more like being LOST IN A FOG. I have grown to like Four Roses, though.

@Fiver67, try the Rare Breed first, but do be sure to get around to having some Baker's later. I like them both a lot. Wild Turkey Rare Breed is more mainstream, and is just one of the great exemplars of bourbon. Baker's, which was my favourite bourbon for a couple of years before I tried a lot of them, is to me the odd man out in the Beam stable. To me it's the only standard Beam mashbill bourbon(medium rye, rather than the OGD-Basil Hayden's higher rye content) which really tastes like it could have been made at a different distillery. I think it must be the yeast used which makes it different. Baker's doesn't really give you the Jim Murray style long graceful finish...but then Old Grand-Dad 114 doesn't either. Some of us, ie like me, don't always need that and can just enjoy watching the fireworks explode in the sky and then fall suddenly to earth.


Wathen's Single Barrel Bourbon is currently distilled by the Medley family at the Charles Wathen Medley Distillery in Owensboro, Kentucky. The Medley family has been in the whiskey business since 1788.

The reviewed bottle is from barrel #1296, bottled 1-21-2011. The reviewed bottle has been open for four weeks. There is no age statement on the bottle, but the Wathen's Single Barrels are reported by some to be 8 years old.

Nose: strong intensity, very sweet maple, strong vanilla, strong rye spice, moderate carnation, moderate caramel, slight honey, slight lemon. This is a very lovely nose, which is made even more amazing by the addition of a few drops of water. The only slight shortcoming of the nose is a bit of astringency more than would be desired.

Taste: strong oak flavours, lots of juicy intense rye spices--cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, ginger--, rich caramel and vanilla, a hint of honey, and a hint of lemon. Very nice, though not a complete translation of the beautiful flavours from the nose.

Finish: very long finish. The oak and maple flavours last longer than the spice.

Balance: this is a well put-together bourbon, which tasted delicious both on first bottle opening and after four weeks of open bottle. The balance is quite good here. This reminds me most of Elijah Craig 18 yo among bourbons I know, even though this is reportedly aged less than half that time. The balance between sweet and sour, and between sweet and dry works well here. I enjoyed these samples which I received from my sister's bottle so much that I purchased a bottle of my own from a different barrel. A review of that bottle will follow.

@JDwhiskey, I think that I paid about $ 34 including tax in Maryland. A good source (thanks to @HP12!)to check current US prices is the search function of www.wine-searcher.com. It gives currently posted online merchants' prices plus average price info for the US market.

The Medley distillery doen't actually produce anything, it has been silent for years. This product is contract distilled by an undisclosed distillery. The marketing material is very deceiving and confusing, and, due to that fact, they will see none of my money. Here is a link that helps explain how the whole situation works chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2013/10/…

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