Spirit: Smoke Wagon Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey
Distiller: Nevada Distilling
About The Distillery:
Smoke Wagon? Does that mean it’s smokey?
Smoke Wagon is actually old west slang for the 1873 Colt single action army revolver or “the gun that won the west”. Our logo stamped in wax consists of two crossed Smoke Wagons over the state of Nevada. Below it is our motto and a quote from Seneca, bibamus moriendum est. The literal translation is “drink, for we must die” but the meaning is more along the lines of, drink and enjoy today because we won’t be around forever. We can only assume Seneca meant to drink responsibly, of course.
About Smoke Wagon Small Batch:
Our high rye content bourbon is aged in the heart of a century-old brick warehouse. To ensure a unique and consistent flavor, barrels are hand selected to create a perfect blend that is smooth and at the same time bold and intense.
Released in 2016, our goal was to create a unique great tasting high rye content bourbon.
The problem is that rye ages much faster than corn.
So while our younger vintages had a big rye spice flavor (which we love) the mouth feel was too thin and it lacked the sweet, delicate complexity of a well aged spirit. Our older vintages had the smoothness and sweet notes that can only be achieved by moving in and out of #4 char and caramelized oak for many, many years, but the nice rye spice had been aged out!
So what to do? Find the perfect blend.
We combined the two. The younger vintages maintain the bold spiciness of the rye, cut down on the tannins and keep it fruit forward. The older vintage brings in a creamy mouth feel with sweet aromas and taste notes that only appear over time from aging in a barrel. We hope you enjoy drinking it as much as we enjoy making it.
Nose: Theres a beautiful note of candied orange peel and light brown sugar giving it a fruity and molasses note. Deep vanilla, honey, and baked caramel give it a more savory and desert profile that subtle hints of pink peppercorn, baking spice, and a light wood-sugar note.
Palate: Herbal with light medicinal notes. Vanilla spice and black currant tea with hints of rock sugar make up the body of the palate.
Finish: Straightforward and dry. Charred oak, leather, and baking spice make up the finish.
This was a pour that really surprised me.
I have heard so much about Smoke Wagon and the Uncut Unfiltered expression. Everyone has been raving about it, and I tried it at a local bottle share recently. It was great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also incredibly difficult to find.
On one of our recent trips to Nashville, we came across a smoke wagon small batch. And, while it wasn’t the Uncut expression, I was happy to pick two up and give it a try. Boy am I glad I did.
I host a few monthly bottle shares at some of our partner distilleries and I brought this bottle with me. I’m lucky I had a backup because that bottle got absolutely demolished by the end of the first share.
The second one I decided to keep for myself. The nose is amazing. It’s full of deep, sweet, earthy notes and smells more like the “bourbon candy” you find crusted on the outside of a barrel’s leak points. And, while this bottle is 100 proof, it drinks below yet doesn’t compromise on the flavor.
Overall, we’re glad we snagged these when we did and would absolutely purchase again if the opportunity presented itself.
Greg Sinadinos started his spirits journey writing a whiskey periodical for Fine Tobacco NYC Magazine. He began answering review requests under a social media page he named “Whiskey Culture,” which quickly merged with Greg’s passion for connecting with others and his interest in history.
Today, Greg travels the country not just looking for great whiskey, but also exploring the history and individuals that the whiskey community is founded upon. He has authored “Whiskey History From Around The World” and is the host of “The Rickhouse” web series.