DSR – SC – 001: Gentry Charleston Lowland Bourbon Whiskey
Company/Distillery: Local Choice Spirits
Location: N. Charleston, SC
Mash Bill: 75% Corn, 21% Rye and 4% Malted Barley
Age Statement: At Least 6 Months
Proof/ABV: 90 Proof/ 45% ABV
Color: Brownish bronze, a lot like a glass of tea
Purchase Price: Purchased at the State Line Liquor Store, South Carolina; Sale price $53.99 on Gentry website.
Bottle Label Information:
Front Label: “Gentry Charleston Lowland Bourbon Whiskey”
Side Label: “Produced & Bottled by Local Choice Spirits, N. Charleston, SC”
“AGED TO PERFECTION”
“Delicately bold with hints of vanilla & oak and a smooth finish”
“Aged at least 6 months in oak barrels”
“Refined by the Terrepure Process”
Back Label: “John Gentry Madison picked up his first thoroughbred race horse in Kentucky. Soon after, he collected horses from all over the country and began breeding on his farm. Only one horse was good enough to bear his name, GENTRY, and carry his dream to return to Kentucky and win the big race. As Gentry was gaining stride and winning races, John passed. In a legacy of honor and tradition, his grandson, JD, named his prized bourbon whiskey, GENTRY. “
“The Madison family now uses proceeds from the sale of Gentry Bourbon Whiskey to rebuild their family horse farm in Charleston, SC. “
Local Choice Spirits
Local Choice Spirits was founded in 2011 by Paula Dezzutti in Charleston, SC as a boutique/celebrity brand spirit. On their website, Local Choice Spirits explains its business model:
Our family business creates award-winning boutique spirits and celebrity brands, whilst operating a give back business model. Our commitment to quality and community has allowed us to expand into an innovative, premium brand building platform, providing creators and consumers alike the opportunity to enjoy exceptional spirits and #PourItForward to community causes.https://www.localchoicespirits.com/about/
Local Choice Spirits currently manufactures over 20 different brands of spirits. These include, but are not limited to, Kurt Thomas Pecan Pie Moonshine, Boone’s Bourbon, The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand Whiskey, Local Choice Black Cherry Bourbon Whiskey, and multiple offerings from the Striped Pig Distillery. You can find a full listing of their offerings, here.
Gentry Charleston Lowland Bourbon Whiskey
Gentry Bourbon was launched in 2013 by Bravo TV’s Southern Charm star, J.D. Madison. The idea for the Gentry line of bourbon came from J.D.’s desire to restore his long heritage in horse racing and rebuild the family’s thoroughbred horse farm in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. According to their website, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their bourbon goes towards the rebuilding of the farm.
Historical records show that J.D.’s grandfather got the family into horse racing by purchasing a horse from War Admiral’s blood line in Kentucky. The family would continue to purchase and breed thoroughbreds until his grandfather finally identified one he thought could win the Kentucky Derby. This horse would become affectionately named “Gentry.” That dream was never realized due to the passing of J.D.’s grandfather before being able to run Gentry in the Derby. This history sparked J.D.’s passion to create a bourbon whiskey in remembrance of the dream his grandfather had before his passing.
In 1999, Terressentia Corporation and co-inventor Ty Taylor, decided to embark on project to find ways to speed up the aging process of spirits. The idea of aging a spirit for 6-10 years after production seemed to them, like a waste of time and energy. The result of their research was the TerrePURE process. The TerrePURE process uses ultra-sonic energy to speed up the aging process from several years to roughly 24 hours. In a very simplistic explanation, the process removes the bad tasting alcohols from the product leaving only the good tasting esters through the use of chemistry and science as opposed to the use of a barrel and years of temperature fluctuations. As a result, Terressentia claims to produce a smoother product at a cheaper cost to the consumers. A detailed video with commentary from Mr. Taylor can be watched here. The Terressentia Corporation currently works out of two distilleries, one located in Charleston, SC and the other, the O.Z. Taylor Distillery, in Owensboro, KY.
Tasting Date/Vessel: June 7, 2020 – Neat in Glencairn Glass
Christian: After a generous pour, a quick nose brought forth a light fruity aroma of apples or pears. A second pass brought forward earthy smells of green clay with a dose of ethanol. The addition of water did not change or add anything to the nose of this bourbon.
Mike: On first pass I pick up an affable smell of pre-packaged sliced apples. As I nose in deeper, I pick up earthy notes of green clay and a rush of modeling glue. The green clay and glue aromas just dominate the nose at that point.
Christian: The mouth feel is very light and thin, much like the consistency of water. Slight hints of clover honey and corn meal. Almost taste a bit like a plain graham cracker. Doesn’t appear to be a lot going on in this pour. Adding water did not really bring any additional flavor profiles or changes to the bourbon. Continue to experience notes that are quite bland.
Mike: The mouth feel is very thin and flat. There is a slight detection of apples in the mouth followed by a rush of cedar that is somewhat bitter. There is a faint presence of vanilla on the back-end. Any overall flavor of the mouth is essentially undetectable.
Christian: This bourbon does not present much of a finish. Once the spirit leaves your tongue, the experience is over. Little to no burn and no flavor lingering around. Again, water does not add any flavor or depth. The finish remains minimal with no burn or lasting flavors.
Mike: There is virtually no finish. Nothing lingers except a feeble ethanol burn as you swallow.
Christian: This was my first introduction to a bourbon that was made using the TerrePURE process. My gut reaction is that there is no replacement for time and the natural flavors imparted to a bourbon by the charred oak barrel. I was willing to give this bourbon a try, in the name of science. Unfortunately, this bourbon just comes off as a young product and leaves a lot to be desired. The flavors that are present are all earthy flavor profiles, which isn’t necessarily an indication of a high quality bourbon, in my opinion. If you recall the background information above, the purpose of the TerraPURE process is to give the consumer a quality bourbon at a cheaper cost to the consumer. Spending more than $50 for a bourbon that lacks the complexity and flavor of an aged bourbon is not justifiable, especially considering the availability of high quality bourbon for the same price. All of that aside, Gentry Bourbon presents itself in a sexy bottle.
Rating: 1.0 Rickhouse
Mike: Overall this is a very underwhelming product. Initially, I felt the nose showed promise but was saddened when there was nothing in the mouth or finish that developed. MSRP in SC is around $50 for a 750ml bottle, which is preposterous for the final product we tasted. The bottle presents very well on the shelf and if I have one positive take away from my experience with this offering, it’s that this bottle will make a solid decanter once all labeling is removed. Do yourself a favor and save your money by leaving this one on the retail shelf!
Rating: 1.0 Rickhouse
Conclusion: After picking up this bottle in South Carolina, seeing the classy look of the bottle with the wax stamp and reading the story, we really had high hopes for this bourbon. Unfortunately, it really didn’t deliver. The price point is way too high for a bourbon that presents with very little flavor and age. Our first introduction to the TerrePURE process left us feeling that there is absolutely no substitute for the time tested process of aging in a barrel. The beloved bourbon flavors and characteristics of high quality, aged bourbon just didn’t translate. We are hoping to find some recipes to mix this bourbon with, just so we don’t waste our the money spent to obtain this bottle. It may have even ruined our desire to sample any other TerrePURE products in the future. Our final thought is that it seems as if the consumer is paying for the fame and notoriety of owning a bottle produced by someone on a famous television show. If you are a fan of Southern Charm, go ahead and buy this bottle but leave it on your shelf as a collectible.