Review – M&O Smoking’ in the COWS Room by Todd Sarver

One of the great opportunities with COWS is to get truly unique experiences. We are not aware of any other group that is taking the barrels from barrel picks and filling them with another distillery’s distillate to create unicorn bottles. COWS did this recently with High Bank and created a popular bottle.

COWS is doing it again with M&O Spirits in Ashville, Ohio. You will recall in May 2022, COWS released its Bulleit pick, “Fruity and the Yeast” – which was, as the name suggests, was heavy on the fruit and bread notes and was proofed at 104.

COWS then collaborated with Doug McLaughlin, the master distiller at M&O. We sampled a few barrels and settled on one of their Smoke whiskey barrels that had a prevalent nose and flavor profile of breakfast: maple syrup, waffles, vanilla notes.

And what better than to add some of fruit to breakfast – so we took the distillate in the M&O barrel and put it in the Bulleit barrel…and waited.

This release will be M&O’s first barrel strength single barrel – ever – and it’s a COWS pick.  As well as their first double barreled product.

NAME – M&O, Smokin’ in the COWS Room

PROOF – 123.1

MASH BILL – 58% Ohio corn; 14% Ohio rye; 10.5% Ohio wheat; 17.5% malted barley

COLOR – Old Oak (1.8 on the Whiskey Magazine Color Chart) – very dark

NOSE – The maple and waffles (or pancakes if you are so inclined) hit you first followed by soft vanilla, almonds, light strawberry or sweet cherry, and a subtle oak. Given the proof, there is surprisingly little ethanol on the nose.

TASTE – This is extremely viscous. It hugs the glass and coats the tongue. The maple syrup and waffles hit right up front then dissipates into a light caramel as it hits the middle of the palate. There is a cinnamon note that runs from the front to the finish. The middle is where the fruit notes emerge – a light strawberry or sweet cherry glaze. The waffles continue to be present through the middle as well.

FINISH – I would describe this as a long finish. Basically, sit back and enjoy breakfast. The maple, fruit, nuttiness, waffles, cinnamon all continue or reappear. A wisp of smokiness also appears on the finish.

REVIEW – Mission accomplished. Imagine, if you will, sitting in a small-town diner on a Saturday morning ordering breakfast – and that is what is captured in this bottle.


FINAL COMMENTS – If you are not acquainted with M&O, you are missing out. They are generally open to the public on Saturdays from noon-4p, and it is worth the trip down to have Doug show you around and to sample their lineup.

We are very excited about this bottle. COWS will be holding a 4-course meal and with a tasting of an M&O product with each course led by M&O’s master distiller, Doug McLaughlin at Pinnacle Golf Club in Grove City. The event will be on Wednesday evening, May 17. Be on the lookout for reservations for this event being posted soon.

The Smokin’ in the COWS Room reservations will also be posted soon. If you attend the M&O event, you will be able to pick up your bottle(s) there.