“Tell me what brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”
~Abraham Lincoln – 16th President of the United States of America
I’ve always enjoyed understanding the origin of something, so once I was turned on to Old Medley I did a little research about their history and it’s honestly fascinating. Owned by the Medley family, formerly of the Medley distillery in Owensboro, KY. They produce Wathen’s, Old Medley and Medley Brothers Kentucky bourbons (I’ve been told to steer clear of Medley Brothers). Old Medley is the same mashbill as Wathen’s, but aged a few more years. I’ve purchased both Old Medley & Wathen’s, but haven’t cracked the later yet, so a comparison review isn’t possible. When you combine the Medley AND Wathen families they go back to the beginning of bourbon production here in the United States predating nearly everyone (even the man credited with starting it all). Henry Hudson Wathen was known to have been operating a distillery in the same town a year earlier than the Reverend Elijah Craig. In 1899 the Wathens acquired the Old Grand-Dad from the Hayden family (FYI…both Basil Hayden & Old Grand-Dad are named after the same person). The Medley family produced OGD for some time before peddling it off to the goliath that now is Suntory-Beam. At one point, they owned and operated three distilleries all in a row along the western side of Owensboro. The former Charles Medley Distillery is now owned by the Terressentia Corporation as of 2014 with production having been resumed in 2016. You can visit the new O.Z. Tyler distillery website HERE. The Medley family is a very important part of Kentucky bourbon making for several generations in fact with the exception of 1991 to 1996 a Medley had been a master distiller continuously going all the way back to 1812. With the sale of the distillery now complete this is the end of a long run going back over two hundred years of a Medley at the helm of a whiskey distillery in Kentucky. Only 2,500 cases were distributed for this one time release, so grab a bottle before they go extinct.
Nose: Vanilla, Caramel, Oak, herbal notes & cinnamon.
Palate: Deep, “Rye-esque”, very rewarding, earthy backbone. You can really taste the terroir in the glass. Full-bodied with a wonderfully oily characteristic and fingers a long as Easter Mass. I kind of get the sweetness reminiscent of a Payday candy bar too…faint caramel & peanuts with a velvety and very decadent finish. Great for a 12 y/o.
Finish: Spicy, but dissipates quickly and VERY F’n dry. Leaves you with a need to tip the glass again or drink some water. Try adding a cube or a splash of water (or else you’ll need some Advil to ward off the hangover I guarantee you’ll have because you tried to hydrate with more whiskey).
Overall: Really excellent for the aged statement listed. Based on texture, taste & aroma I would have expected this to have spent significantly more time in the barrel and the 86 proof is surprising because there’s a noticeable alcohol punch. It’s average until you’ve had a few sips, then if your conscious of it…it’s deceptively good.