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.


Make sure you put in the comments any bottles that you would like me to review.


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.



Town Branch True Cask Review

Sunday Evening Review


Back at the Central Ohio Whiskey Society meeting we had Town Branch as our guest distillery who brought a tasting that was not yet in Ohio but said it was on the way. Well, it has arrived so I wanted to explore this again and also make you aware of the new offering to Ohio. The bottle is Towne Branch True Cask. Let’s find out if my opinion has changed since the March meeting on this bottle.


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NAME – Towne Branch True Cask – Batch #002


PROOF – 109.3


AGE – non age stated but is labeled as a Kentucky Straight Bourbon with no age statement means it is at least 4 years


COLOR – dried peat moss (1.4 tawny on the Whiskey Magazine Color Chart)


NOSE – Vanilla, rolled oats, stewed peaches sprinkled with cinnamon, chocolate malt, and some earthy tones


TASTE – Sweet amber honey at the start then transitions to chocolate malt, cinnamon and vanilla.


FINISH – I would call this a medium. In the finish the stewed peaches reappear from the nose along with a new note of cigar tobacco along side cinnamon.


REVIEW – I know this surprised many at the meeting and it continues to do so. This is a very good pour that isn’t overly complex but doesn’t mean it is not very enjoyable. This is another good summer bourbon with a bit of a proof punch. Would go great drinking it at a BBQ or around a firepit with friends.


FINAL COMMENTS – This bottle from Town Branch is rumored to have blended mash bill of a 50/50 blend: Higher-malt bourbon mash (72% corn, 15% malted barley, 13% rye) and an undisclosed proprietary bourbon mash. There is no doubt that high malt shows itself in the bourbon.


Another tidbit is that these barrels are being aged at the famous Castle & Key Distillery formerly the Old Taylor Distillery. The risk house very humid that actually drops the proof of the whiskey in the barrel instead the most common situation of raising the alcohol content. The barrel entry proof is 125 so it means it drops over 15 proof points in the barrel.


The links that they go to make sure no water is added is impressive. They even dry the blending tanks and other equipment before blending to ensure the whiskey is completely uncut.


Their blending team keeps blending until “they love it.” What this means is each batch will have some very different characteristics. The Batch #002 is the one that is hitting the shelves right now in Ohio.


To find out more check it out here – Town Branch True Cask

You can look at all the past Sunday Evenings Reviews and I would still love to hear what your personal reviews are from each of the whiskies reviewed.

Castle & Key Restoration Batch 3

Castle & Key’s Restoration Batch 3 Review

Castle & Key Distillery is a place that seems out of a fairy tale for those not into whiskey. For those that are it is almost hallowed ground where Colonial Edmund Haynes (E.H.) Taylor Jr. literally started whiskey tourism. Obviously, his name sake whiskey’s produced by Buffalo Trace are much revered but now we will see if this place has some magic left as I review the 2021 Restoration Rye Batch 3 whiskey.


Make sure you put in the comments any bottles that you would like me to review.


NAME – Restoration Kentucky Rye Whiskey 2021 Batch 3


PROOF – 105


AGE – 3.5 years


COLOR – Harvest gold (1.3 russet muscat on the Whiskey Magazine Color Chart)


NOSE – Sugary cereal like Captain Crunch, lemon zest, slightly floral and maltiness


TASTE – A lemon herbal tea with honey is immediately what I think of. There is a fair amount of rye spice bite in the back of the throat and the maltiness is weaved throughout.


FINISH – I would call this a medium finish. I might even be stretching a bit to call this a medium finish. The rye spice and maltiness stays and whiffs of lemon zest at the very end.


REVIEW – This rye whiskey is summer in a glass. The lemon zest makes it bright and vibrant without be obnoxious. There is just enough sweetness, rye spice and malt to balance out the citrus. I absolutely could see me sitting out on a late July evening and having a pour of this. Maybe even putting it in some 7-Up or ginger ale. Really a pleasant pour that doesn’t even drink at the 105 proof. If I didn’t know I would guess it more in the 90 proof range.


FINAL COMMENTS – I am an unapologetic E.H. Taylor fan boy. If he would be alive today, he would absolutely be THE rockstar in this whiskey craze. He was 100 years ahead of his time as he was thinking distilleries should be more than a barn with a still in it. Back when the distillery where Castle & Key is now attracted tourist and people would come to picnic where they were given complimentary “tenth pint” bottles of Old Taylor. This was in the late 1800’s and he was already doing what almost every distillery on the bourbon trail and off of it (for that matter) is doing. Distilleries today are shrines to their brand and they realize that the distillery can add to the attraction of the whiskey. Today, people have their weddings there as I personally saw one time when I was there.


If you are ever in Frankfort area, it is an absolute must stop even if the people you are with aren’t into whiskey, they will respect and be awed by the whiskey castle.

To find out more check it out here – Castle & Key

You can look at all the past Sunday Evenings Reviews and I would still love to hear what your personal reviews are from each of the whiskies reviewed.