The Indiana Bourbon Club did the March Madness thing for whiskey recently. You know, pit a bunch of local places against each other and have fans vote on champions. It is as unscientific as it gets, but generally fun.
I have only had a few of these: Hotel Tango, Starlight and Indiana Whiskey. I have heard good things about Hard Truth and have been looking for that one.
Seeing this reminded me I still have a couple of bottles I picked up at Indiana Whiskey in South Bend, so it is time for a proper write-up.
Indiana Whiskey was started in 2011 by veteran Charlie Florance, with the idea of sourcing as much of his operation from within whiskey as possible, starting with a custom still fabricated in South Bend.
Just Whiskey is the flagship. Corn, wheat, barley mash bill. They do a rye as well, then some flavors like a maple, a sweet heat and a chocolate.
I was able to grab one of their limited releases: the cask strength, which came as a set with the glass. Batch 1 even, bottle #67.
Just Whiskey is typically 90 proof, but this one weighs in at 108. It’s easy to see that in the picture, because they just hand-edited the label.
I don’t know the mash bill of this one, but by color and by sweetness, I would guess heavier on the corn. I would also guess it is fairly young. It has some dark amber in the bottle, but pours thinner looking in the glass.
The nose is sweet corn, the taste is subtle vanilla and the cask-strength heat does not hit until the back end. In fact, the saliva slow draw method brings a ton of heat as it sits there. This is one that if you are sipping, it doesn’t come across as hot, but if you are “tasting” and letting it sit, gets extremely hot.
I would call this one good, not great yet. They are still young and I think the whiskey is too. That being said, if I ever find myself in South Bend again, I would probably grab a bottle of the Just Whiskey to see how they are doing. I try to support craft whiskey as much as possible. I have that aforementioned rye whiskey as well I need to get to.
But also, I need to get to some of the others in the bracket.
93: Lagavulin 11 Offerman Edition
92: Jefferson’s Reserve Very Old
91–George Remus 2020 Cask Strength (A1 pick), Glenfiddich Fire & Cane
90: High West Campfire, Few Rye, Knob Creek Small Batch 100
89: Old Forester Rye, Knob Creek Brown Butter 120 (A1 Pick)
88: Buffalo Trace, Oban Night’s Watch
87: Breckenridge Bourbon
86: Indiana Whiskey Just Whiskey Cask Strength
85: Wolfburn Aurora, Jameson Stout Edition
83: Buchanan’s Deluxe 12
1: Jameson Orange. Yeah, I said it.
88: Dogfish Head Compelling Gin