It is amazing how far Sugarfield Spirits has come in the eleven months since I visited there. They are creating new spirits and are upping their bourbon game. As soon as this pandemic business is over I will definitely take another trip down there. They are now sourcing bourbon barrels from Midwest Grain Products (MGP) as well as Davis Valley in Virginia for their main bourbon lines and have now begun a store pick barrel program. Hokus Pokus has sourced a barrel, with a mashbill of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% barley malt, distilled at MGP, which I would call a traditional low rye bourbon mash. They have dubbed it the “Local Bourbon Trail” release given the proximity of Hokus Pokus’ Prairieville location to Sugarfield’s Gonzales distillery.
To boot, this was bottled at cask strength at a healthy 104.5 proof. And they don’t even own a chill filtering machine, and I hope Sugarfield never buys one.
The color is a very deep amber/light mahogany. While we know this bourbon is at least four years old, as it is so labeled, the color indicates to me that it is substantially older than that. On the swirl is a thin film but substantial legs. On the nose, very traditional MGP bourbon but with dark fruits, clove, and oak. On the palate, there is some nice vanilla and corn sweetness, but with lots of nice oak dominating the palate, followed by dark maraschino cherries. On the finish the flavors fade into oak tannin, without being dry, and the taste of a dark maraschino cherry after you finish a Manhattan.
This is one of the best MGP bourbons I have ever tried; comparable to Smooth Ambler Old Scout Single Barrel Barrel Proof, or at least how I remember it to be. I can heartily say that this is better than MGP’s own product, George Remus cask strength. The price is absolutely right on this at $55 a bottle, given that Pinhook sells a much younger MGP cask strength bourbon at nearly twice the price that is nowhere near as good.
I certainly hope Hokus will source more barrels from Sugarfield in the future, and I bet other Louisiana retailers and bourbon groups will do the same. Because this bottling is true bourbon excellence from a Louisiana distiller and blender.