DSR – TN – 001: Uncle Nearest 1856
Company/Distillery: Nearest Green Distillery/Sourced Whiskeys
Location: Columbia, TN
Mash Bill: Undisclosed
Age Statement: No Age Statement. Website indicates a blend of 8 to 14 year old whiskies. (Source)
Proof/ABV: 100 Proof/50% ABV
Color: Golden Brown with a light orange hue
Purchase Price: $59.95 from Mocksville, NC ABC store 4/24/2020; 750 ml
Bottle Label Information:
Neck Label: “State of Tennessee three stars and circle”
Front Label: “Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey”
“Smoothest Whiskey in Tennessee”
“Award Winning American Whiskey; Handmade in Tennessee; Maple Charcoal Filtered; Aged in Charred Oak Barrels; 100 Proof.”
Back Label: “Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey”
“Astonishingly smooth with a gentle finish. Uncle Nearest 1856 is inspired by the best whiskey maker the world never knew. Tennessee’s premier Master Distiller and teacher, Uncle Nearest helped perfect the distinctive maple charcoal filtering process that exemplifies the best of American whiskey. “
“Made by hand, double distilled and aged in American oak barrels, Uncle Nearest 1856 pays tribute to his legacy and craft.”
“Distilled and aged in Tennessee; Bottled by Uncle Nearest; Columbia, TN”
Nearest Green Distillery
When author and real estate investor Fawn Weaver, co-founder and CEO of Uncle Nearest, Inc., began her journey to Lynchburg, Tennessee from Los Angles, California it was not with the intention of building a distillery or making whiskey to be sold around the world. Rather, her hope was to uncover some of the history and legacy of a man named Nathan “Nearest” Green. Publishing a book or making a movie about his life was going to be an added bonus. Instead, after meeting decedents of Nearest Green, Ms. Weaver changed course, made whiskey history, and decided to launch a whiskey line named after Mr. Green to cement his distilling legacy for generations to come.
Elizabeth Dunn, in her story entitled, “How Fawn Weaver Rewrote the History of America’s Biggest Whiskey Brand”, outlines the amazing success Uncle Nearest, Inc. has accomplished in its short life:
It’s the world’s first major spirits brand to be led by an African-American woman, the first major American spirits brand with an all-female leadership team, the first with an all-minority board, and the fastest-growing independent whiskey brand in U.S. history. Weaver credits the brand’s compelling values, along with a high-quality product, for its overnight success. “Every story in whiskey history has always been about a white man – period,” she says. “This is a brand that is, yes, for white males, who drink more whiskey than anyone, but it also includes everybody else. And no brand has ever done that.”Elizabeth Dunn, The National, December 2019/2020
The success experienced by Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey is impressive. Since its launch in 2017, the company’s whiskey has been awarded 75 different medals and awards within the industry. Mrs. Weaver has been able to get Uncle Nearest products into all 50 states and an additional 12 countries. In late 2019, the company made more history by promoting Victoria Eady Butler, great-great-granddaughter of Green, as master blender. Ms. Butler is believed to be the “first known” African-American to hold that position in the industry.
Current product offerings of the distillery include 1820 Single Barrel Edition, 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey, and 1884 Small Batch.
For additional information visit http://www.unclenearest.com.
Nathan “Nearest or Uncle Nearest” Green
Who is Uncle Nearest? Nathan “Nearest” Green was a slave from Maryland who worked for Lynchburg, Tennessee preacher and distillery owner Dan Call. In 1856, Mr. Green would become a free man but would decide to stay on at the Dan Call distillery as a paid employee. During this same time-frame a young boy named Jasper Newton Daniel, better known as Jack Daniel, also moved onto the Call farm and began to learn the art of distilling. It is now believed that it was not Mr. Call who taught Jack Daniel how to distill, specifically the now famous Lincoln County Process, but Nearest Green. In fact, Call would eventually lease the distillery to Jack Daniel who would continue to employee Nearest as his head distiller (source: The National). Needless to say, Mr. Green played a major role in the distilling of Tennessee style whiskey, the Lincoln County Process, and one of the largest and most well known distilleries to this day, Jack Daniel Distillery.
Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey
Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey is a sourced blend of Tennessee whiskey and bourbon aged between 8 to 14 years. Bottled at 100 proof, this whiskey is maple charcoal filtered using the Lincoln County Process as was introduced by enslaved people and taught by Nearest Green himself. 1856 is available in all 50 states. This product is currently bottled at the Nearest Green Distillery in Shelbyville, Tennessee.
Tasting Date/Vessel: April 26, 2020 – Neat in Glencairn Glass
Christian: The nose on this Tennessee whiskey is very oak forward. Subtle hints of peaches or apricots, honey, and some brown sugar. Very pleasant nose. Addition of water really sweetens up the nose by bringing the brown sugar into prominence.
Mike: Light oak and apricots are present on initial passing. Picking up subtle notes of clover honey and oats with a hint of brown sugar sweetness as I nose in deeper. The addition of water brings out the brown sugar and oats. Very pleasant overall.
Christian: Silky smooth mouth feel. A bit dry. Immediately get flavors of barley and oats. Hints of oak, honey, and cloves follows. Addition of water brings a softness to the mouth feel. Oatmeal taste moves to the forefront and becomes even more pronounced. A hint of bitterness sneaks in.
Mike: Immediately dry and oaky with some hot cinnamon spice on the back end. Traces of chocolate grow and linger after the sip is consumed. Water sweetens all the flavors and diminishes the cinnamon spiciness.
Christian: Short to medium finish. Has a little hotness to it. As I sat and enjoyed, a strong finish of peaches and cream came forward. Sweet and nice!! Adding water really shortened up the finish and made this whiskey even more approachable.
Mike: Medium to short and very smooth. Nothing really lingers, which is a bit surprising and the addition of water shortens the finish immensely.
Christian: I found this to be a very enjoyable pour. The sweetness in the nose, oatmeal and oak in the mouth, and incredible peaches and cream flavor in the finish were really well rounded. In all honesty, my only hang-up on this Tennessee whiskey is the price. An MSRP at just below $60 seems rather high for a sourced 100 proof whiskey. Especially when I take into consideration the available barrel strength alternatives, including a very good Tennessee whiskey on the market, within a few dollars of this product.
Bottom-line: very good product with a nice balanced flavor profile. Wouldn’t hesitate buying occasionally, however, given the price point and the quality selections of barrel proof alternatives, I would be tempted to pick the higher proof over this offering.
Rating: 3.25 Rickhouses
Mike: This is a satisfying whiskey at 100 proof. The history and story of Nearest Green is fascinating and it’s a story that needed to be shared. A $60 MSRP is a little much for this sourced expression and bumps the Rickhouse Rating down a little for me. I’m looking forward to the release of expressions distilled by Nearest Greene, but I understand the need to get a product on the market to generate revenue and this is a respectable sourced whiskey.
Rating: 2.75 Rickhouses
Conclusion: The story and history of Nathan “Uncle Nearest” Green is compelling. The success and resolve of Mrs. Weaver and the Nearest Green Distillery is nothing short of amazing. There is no doubt this is a quality Tennessee whiskey. The pour was really enjoyable neat and adding water sweetened it up and brought a very pleasant taste to the party. For us, the price is the real issue. It is a clogged space at $60 of products with higher proofs and bolder flavors. Buy it and give it a shot.