Castle & Key Bourbon Review

Sunday Evening Review


This week as I made my way down to do an Ezra Brooks Cask Strength barrel pick at Lux Row I was forced to storm the castle (walk into the gift shop) of the Old Taylor Distillery that is home of Castle & Key. I went to pick up the fairly recently released bourbon that is now on batch 3. Not many liked the first batch as I heard. Let’s see if they figured anything out and batch 3 is the charm.


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NAME – Castle & Key Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon


PROOF – 96


AGE – 4 years


COLOR – autumn hay (1.3 russet muscat on the Whiskey Magazine Color Chart)


NOSE – Lemon tart, powder sugar, toasted corn bread, caramel ice cream topping


TASTE – Cooked caramel, toasted oak, vanilla ice cream, lemon zest, croissant, rye spice, slight floral notes


FINISH – I would call this a medium finish. The caramel, oak and a pepper note continue through the end. Gets a bit drying at the end. Just enough you want another sip.


REVIEW – This is summer in a glass. A lot of lemon citrus throughout the nose and the palate. For 96 proof and only 4 years old thought it was pretty oily and really clung to the sides of the glass. For $50 this juice along with a very thick and beautiful bottle presentation is more than worth it on this batch. We are nearing the end of summer and this is the perfect bourbon to take you into fall.


FINAL COMMENTS – The mash bill is 73% White Corn, 10% Rye, and 17% Malted Barley. This would have been put in the barrel back when Marianne Eaves was still the master distiller.


This is the first proprietary bourbon to be distilled and released by Castle & Key from the historic Old Taylor Distillery in nearly five decades. Castle & Key has been more widely known as a contract distiller, working with brands like Pinhook and more recently Blue Run.


To me the only other distillery the rivals Castle & Key for the beauty of the grounds is Maker’s Mark. This place is a must visit even if who are with is not into spirits at all. By the way you can rent the grounds for a wedding or other event for $40k if you’re interested.