Ragged Branch Barrel Pick Revisited

Contributed by RR Editor, Stephanie Griffith

4,291–The number of questions I ask each week when editing a Rickhouse Ramblings review. 

0–The amount of bourbon, whiskey, or bourbon whiskey I’ve consumed in the last 37 years. 

It’s safe to say that bourbon and bourbon related drinks are not really my forte. Christian knows that anything I drink has to be sweet, not burn, and preferably come in a frozen icee form. Bourbon does not fall into that category. Bourbon is potent and it burns all the way down. I treated Christian with a trip to Jack Daniels Distillery for his 35th birthday and I’m ashamed of the faces I made when trying 2 sips of the finest whiskey JD has to offer. 

Tasting in the Ragged Branch Rickhouse

My limited bourbon knowledge and general enjoyment of the product made me the obvious choice of a companion to join in on a barrel pick. Despite all of that and with my mask in hand, I made the trek with Christian, Mike, and Alicia (Mike’s wife) to Charlottesville, VA. The weather was gorgeous and the men of Rickhouse Ramblings were giddy with excitement. When we arrived, we were greeted by Alex and Josh Toomy, owner and distillers of Ragged Branch Distillery. We had a brief tour of what their distilling process entails before heading to the barrel house to pick the barrel that many of our readers are anticipating. The red carpet treatment that the men received was incredible. They got down about 7 barrels to taste, with no limit to the number of sips they could taste. To say these men were like kids in a candy store would be a gross understatement. I think they would have allowed Christian and Mike to sample every single barrel in the rickhouse. Once they found their barrel, I did indeed try it, because it seemed like the right thing to do. Whatever the name of this bourbon was, rest assured that it does burn…all the way down. I think that’s a good thing, from what I’ve been learning lately. The smell was super pleasant as well. I believe everyone that orders a bottle will be pleased. 

Once the barrel was procured, we had the most amazing lunch of hamburgers made from beef that had just been processed a few days earlier. After some delightful conversation, we headed up the hill for drinks with the most amazing view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Much to my delight, they have created a margarita using their bourbon instead of tequila. I am quite sure I will be making Christian learn this recipe for further consumption after long days of quarantine. 

All in all, this was an amazing experience. It was not just a barrel pick. We all became part of the Ragged Branch family that day. If you ever have the chance to participate in a barrel pick, I would highly recommend it. 

Ragged Branch Distillery and Farm
Left to Right: Christian, Alex Toomy (Founder and Distiller), and Mike

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