Senator Chuck Schumer apparently can’t read labels. He thinks Widow Jane bourbon is actually made in Brooklyn, and he gave Mitch McConnell a bottle while bragging about his home town bourbon. But, it’s not. It is just proofed down in New York state and Widow Jane has an office in Brooklyn. Widow Jane is kind of a strange duck; sometimes their stuff is sourced from Kentucky, sometimes from Indiana. Widow Jane makes a big deal out of the limestone water from New York they use to proof down the bourbon. I seriously doubt that makes much difference, but where they get the water from, the Widow Jane mine, gives the bourbon a cool name, in any event. So, Schumer gave McConnell a bottle of Kentucky bourbon he thought was from New York which is pretty funny.
Up and until now, I haven’t had the urge to try Widow Jane, despite the wonderful political backstory. Their standard release is a ten year old bourbon proofed down to 90 proof and costs $70. That’s pretty much a pass for me. However, Hokus Pokus recently bought a single barrel, which is slightly higher proof at 99 and two years older than the standard release. That’s more my style – just shy of 100 proof with some extra aging on it; sign me up! This release is MGP bourbon from Indiana and says so on the label; good on them for disclosure. I am generally a fan of MGP bourbon with a good amount of age on it and at or close to barrel proof, ala the old Smooth Ambler Old Scout releases. While I am a staunch Republican, I am a true democrat when it comes to bourbon; it bothers me not if my bourbon comes from Indiana by way of New York; as long as it tastes good.
You do have to like the label Hokus applied for Memorial Day as well.
The color on the bourbon is a nice amber; no mahogany though like I would hope for in a bourbon of this age and proof. On the swirl are large droplets of oils, thin legs, and a film. Definitely well made stuff that was set to age for a good while.
On the nose is delightful oak, rye spice, baking spice, caramel, and slight vanilla. Very nice with no unpleasant notes. On the palate, the whiskey has an nice rich mouthfeel; very buttery too. The oak and baking spice on the nose show up on the palate and then give way to a cherry cola note which is really nice. On the finish, the cherry cola turns to cinnamon and anise, much like some Knob Creek single barrel store picks I have had. The finish lingers nicely and has my mouth watering. The more I keep sipping on this one, the more I like it. I had Catherine try it and she liked it too. So, we heartily recommend this one as a good special occasion neat sipper. Fantastic!
Hokus Pokus got 144 bottles out of this barrel, which is a pretty good yield for a twelve year old. It costs around $80, and that is maybe a bit pricey for some. However, I like it and think it is worth the money for a high proof top quality MGP bourbon with good flavor. Really love the cherry cola note; I am a big fan of that. This is WAY better than the Pinhook I reviewed recently. MGP whiskey needs time before it is good. Just because MGP will sell it to you young does not mean you should bottle it. 12 years is way better than 3-6, even if you add water from the Widow Jane mine for 8% of the volume.
This would be a good bourbon to pick up for a family member who served in the armed forces just because of the cool label (both the Hokus added label and the military type face on the regular label), and if Dad is a bourbon guy, this is a good special bottle for Father’s Day.
Happy Memorial Day!