George Remus and his role in bootlegging whiskey is not as well known at the likes of Al Capone, Arnold Rothstein, or Bugsy Siegel, but he probably should be. His story is worthy of a big budget movie the likes the previously mentioned have received. Even more surprising, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that a bourbon was named after him.
But that may have been fortuitous to juice giant MGP. If you are not familiar with MGP, you probably are but don’t know it. Located in Indiana, the produce much of the whiskey “juice” that gets sold off to other distillers, aged and rebranded.
Well, MGP decided to start marketing their own whiskey, and the Remus name was still sitting there for the taking. Thus, George Remus straight bourbon whiskey became the flagship product of the MGP distillery. They also allow store picks–a store of group to come in and hand select their own barrell/proof/finish, etc. That is what we have here: the A1 Liquors (Effingham) store pick
Typically, Remus is bottled at 94 proof. This 2020 store pick comes in a couple weight classes up at 116.2 proof cask strength. Typically something this high, I use a water dropper to open it up and tame it down, but the A1 pick comes in smoother than most 116s would. I probably would still use one going forward when not doing tasting notes, but it is just fine the way it is also, depending on how much kick you are looking for.
Pouring copper in color, a little darker tint than the 94, the cask strength barrel still shows of what I assume is higher-than-typical rye mash on the nose–like a spicy gingersnap. Let is sit on the tongue and it will burn, but is still finishes sweet with a brown sugar-like note at the end.
93: Lagavulin 11 Offerman Edition
92: Jefferson’s Reserve Very Old
91–George Remus 2020 Cask Strength A1 pick
90: High West Campfire, Few Rye, Knob Creek Small Batch 100
89: Old Forester Rye
88: Buffalo Trace, Oban Night’s Watch
87: Breckenridge Bourbon
85: Wolfburn Aurora
83: Buchanan’s Deluxe 12
88: Dogfish Head Compelling Gin