DSR – SC – 002: Lewis Redmond Carolina Bourbon Whiskey
Company/Distillery: Dark Corner Distillery
Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Mash Bill: At Least 51% Corn; Remainder Undisclosed
Age Statement: No Age Statement (3 years 4 months per Facebook Post)
Proof/ABV: 86 Proof/ 43% ABV
Color: Golden Honey
Purchase Price: $55 from State Line ABC Store in South Carolina; 750 ml
Bottle Label Information:
Front Label: “Dark Corner Distillery Presents”
“Lewis Redmond Hand Mash Carolina Bourbon Whiskey”
“Distilled and Bottled by Dark Corner Distillery, Greenville, South Carolina”
“Barrel Aged in Charred American Oak”
“Batch 9; Bottle 162”
Dark Corner Distillery
Sometimes, after an incredibly long work week, you just want to hang out with friends or coworkers and sip an adult beverage, leaving the worries of the week behind you. This is exactly what sparked the idea behind Dark Corner Distillery. In 2011, Dark Corner Distillery founder, Joe Fenten, an electrical engineer, would spend time after work with co-workers drinking moonshine and shooting the breeze. Seeing how much he and his peers enjoyed this time of socialization, Fenten created a space where people could come together and socialize while enjoying hand crafted spirits. Thus, the story of Dark Corner Distillery began.
Why Dark Corner? The Dark Corner is known as an area near Appalachia in northern Greenville County, South Carolina. This area was settled by immigrants from Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England. As could be surmised by their heritage, these individuals brought a storied history of distillation of the “water of life.” It is in this Dark Corner of South Carolina that the hero of this bottle of bourbon, Lewis Redmond, would eventually land. (Smoking Mountain Living Magazine – Shedding A Little Light on the Dark Corner)
In addition to Lewis Redmond Carolina Bourbon Whiskey, The Dark Corner Distillery also distills Whiskey Girl flavored whiskey, Mountain Peak and Hilton Head Distillery flavored rums, Lewis Redmond 1856 and 1876, Two Traditions Dark 23 Rum, Jocassee American Gin, Aermoor Cloud Sourced Vodka, and Hilton Head Distillery Platinum Rum.
Visit The Dark Corner Distillery website for additional information.
Based on a Facebook post by The Dark Corner Distillery from May 2017, the Lewis Redmond Carolina Whiskey reviewed here was a limited-release created to honor legendary moonshiner Lewis Redmond. This bourbon is aged 3 years and 4 months in 30 gallon barrels. Only 200 bottles were released.
Who is Lewis Redmond? Lewis Redmond was born in 1854. Times were tough and many, including Redmond, would turn to making illegal moonshine as a way to supplement their meager income and support their hungry families. Redmond was no different and would begin distilling spirits to improve his family’s financial stability.
In March of 1876, not far from Waynesville and Franklin, North Carolina, Redmond would be served a federal warrant for illegally manufacturing and distributing spirits. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned and Redmond ended up killing a Federal Marshal Alfred Duckworth. After committing this crime, Redmond would flee into South Carolina, the “Dark Corner” to be exact. This area of South Carolina was inhabited by many decedents of Irish immigrants well versed in the distillation and subsequent enjoyment of fine spirits.
Eventually Redmond would return to North Carolina’s Swain County. After a few years, Redmond was apprehended, plead guilty, and sentenced to federal prison in 1881. A few years later Redmond was pardoned and would return to South Carolina where he would die in 1906. During his life Redmond was affectionately known as the “King of Moonshiners.” (Source)
Tasting Date/Vessel: June 7, 2020 – Neat in Glencairn Glass
Christian: Quickly after pouring into my Glencairn glass, the nose brings a strong aroma of cloves. As the glass opens up, the nose transitions to light honey, coriander, and a slight hint of maple syrup. Sweet and delightful. Water allows the nose to take on more of a leather and caramel sauce aroma.
Mike: The nose is sweet and citrusy with a delicate touch of oak on the initial pass. Notes of tea, soft honey, and coriander on second pass. Nosing in deeper, you definitely pick up an alcohol burn with a punch of orange citrus.
Christian: The mouth feel is thin and watery. The pour is like a leather bomb on your tongue. A very delicate hint of oak and cloves is detectable as the bourbon rolls back. Rather one dimensional. Water doesn’t change much here, leather remains dominate flavor profile.
Mike: This pour is very light, thin, and a bit oily in the mouth. Young tasting and not a lot of depth overall. A hint of hay or grits and just a trace of caramel sauce sweetness on the back of my tongue. Ethanol is predominant and tends to dominate the mouth.
Christian: Very little finish here. I get notes of leather, ethanol, and some black pepper. As the whiskey dissipates, I begin to notice citrus, like lemon zest, and very vague taste of mint. Water lends a very subtle hint of stone fruit, such as peach, to the profile.
Mike: The finish is short with a burst of minty freshness on the back end. Virtually no burn and no flavors hang around. Overall this offering fell a little flat.
Christian: A pleasant, sweet, and inviting nose leads to a one dimensional mouth and finish, dominated by leather. At 86 proof, the finish doesn’t provide much of punch and is somewhat lackluster. The mouth was really disappointing after such a promising and flavorful nose. At over $50 for a bottle, the value just isn’t there. This bourbon would be a good mixer and one that likely wouldn’t find its way to my shelf.
Rating: 2.25 Rickhouses
Mike: The nose was promising and left me feeling optimistic, even while exposing the youngness of this bourbon. This is largely unimpressive across the board. At 86 proof, it is definitely a smooth sip but carries no lasting flavors that inspire. This bourbon has some promise and I feel like a broken record saying this but I’d really like to try this with some age. Perhaps a few extra years in oak would increase the appeal of this offering.
Rating: 2.0 Rickhouses
Conclusion: Rickhouse Ramblings made several attempts to reach out to Dark Corner Distillery in order to provide a thorough summary of their history and other pertinent information. Research of their website provides limited information regarding the process, including the aging and distillation. We also could not definitively state whether or not this bottle is still being produced. As a result, we don’t know much about this product. What we do know is that it offered a delightful nose with a nice sweet flavor profile. The mouth and finish were unable to deliver. Not knowing anything else about the bourbon, a price tag of $50+ is just too steep. The flat taste and high price tag make this an offering that we most likely will not find itself back on our bars.