DSR – VA – 007: Hunter & Scott Bourbon Whiskey
Company/Distillery: Reservoir Distillery, LLC
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Mash Bill: 75% Corn, 20% Wheat and 5% Rye
Age Statement: 1.5 Years
Proof/ABV: 90 Proof/45% ABV
Color & Viscosity: Beautiful tawny color with a hue of orange, glows in the glass. Legs develop sluggishly but are numerous. Incredibly slow trickle of the whiskey down the glass with an oily viscosity.
Purchase Price: $38.99 from the VA ABC Store October 2020; 750 ml
Bottle Label Information:
“Product of Virginia”
“Hunter & Scott Bourbon Whiskey”
“Batch: 24 | Bottle: 118”
“We hope you enjoy our wheated bourbon built upon our founding bottles of bourbon, wheat and rye whiskey. While bourbon is traditionally flavored with rye, we have lowered the rye component and highlighted wheat to create a bourbon that appeals to a wide audience. The wheat imparts a smooth and long finish that is great for sipping neat or over ice. Our Whiskies are never sourced.”
“Distilled, aged, and bottled by Reservoir Distillery, Richmond, VA.”
“Visit us at reservoirdistillery.com”
“100% pot distillate cut from small casks aged for 1.5 years”
“Handmade, single run, small-batch whiskey handmade with only the finest quality grains and yeasts. Distilled, aged, and bottled by Reservoir Distillery, LLC. Richmond, Virginia.”
“Made thoughtfully to be enjoyed thoughtfully”
Reservoir Distillery LLC
Reservoir Distillery was founded in 2008 by friends, Jay Carpenter and Dave Cuttino. The distillery is conveniently located in downtown Richmond, Virginia, just off of I-95, in the Scott’s Addition neighborhood. In addition to Reservoir Distillery, Scott’s Addition is home to over 13 different breweries, cideries, and meaderies. (Source: Scott’s Addition)
Carpenter and Cuttino started working and distilling at Reservoir Distillery as a side-gig and hobby while they continued on with their 9-5 jobs. In 2010, the distillery launched its first official bottling. During their early years, Reservoir’s core offerings were considered leading edge and featured 3 mash bills that were 100% wheat, 100% rye, and 100% corn. It’s also worth noting that Reservoir did not use the traditional 53-gallon barrels like many of the distilleries in Kentucky. Instead, the distillery used smaller barrels, as small as 5-gallons, in an effort to allow their spirits to have greater interaction with the oak barrel at a quicker pace, essentially decreasing the time needed for aging. Reservoir uses a pot still for distillation and utilizes open top fermentation tanks, which allow wild/environmental yeast strains infiltrate into its mash.
A quick look at Reservoir’s line-up shows that the distillery still continues to innovate and try new techniques when distilling their products. The 10 products currently available include its three core offerings of Reservoir Bourbon Whiskey (100% Corn), Reservoir Wheat Whiskey (100% Wheat), Reservoir Rye Whiskey (100% Rye) in addition to Reservoir Wheated Rye Gray Ghost, Holland’s Milkman, Holland’s Ghost, Holland’s Blade Rummer, Maison de Cuivre, Hunter & Scott Bourbon, and Hunter & Scott Rye.
Check out more on Reservoir and their many offerings on their freshly updated website.
Hunter & Scott Bourbon Whiskey
Hunter & Scott Bourbon Whiskey is a blend of the distillery’s 3 main mash bills – 100% wheat, 100% rye, and 100% corn. The blending of these three spirits into Hunter and Scott, produces a more traditional whiskey with a mash bill of 75% corn, 20% wheat, and 5% rye. This bottle is aged for one and a half years, on premises in Richmond, Virginia. Our bottle comes from Batch 24 and is bottle 118 of the batch.
Tasting Date/Vessel: October 11, 2020 – Neat in Glencairn Glass
Christian: My first nosing of Hunter & Scott is straight from the bottle, which presents a pleasant aroma of warm brown sugar oatmeal. There is a sweetness that carries over from the bottle to the Glencairn glass on this pour. I quickly pick up hints of warmed brown butter, butterscotch, and heavy corn. As I allow my glass to sit and breathe some, a second nosing produces a slight touch of unbrewed Lipton tea and green apples. A few drops of distilled water increases the richness of the brown sugar and caramel syrup.
Mike: As I lift the Glencairn glass to my nose, I am immediately hit with fragrance of warm dried fruits. A light ethanol tang is present, with a suggestion of soft sweet tobacco and oatmeal. Nosing in deeper releases robust ethanol flavors. A light swirl yields delicate brown sugar and maple syrup notes. Moving the glass back and forth across the nose delivers the characteristics of tart granny smith apples.
Christian: The mouth feel of this bottle is silky smooth, with little to no coating of my tongue or mouth – a little surprising given the perceived consistency on the glass. The nose’s sweetness is in contrast to the actual taste of this whiskey. As I sip my first nip of this bourbon, I quickly notice cinnamon and allspice baking spices. A smattering of brown sugar and honey are there but you really have to look for them. This pour brings to mind candied pecans – a muted sweetness that has a kick of cinnamon and nutty pecan. Drops of distilled water allows an unexpected pop of licorice to jump off my tongue followed by the baking spices. I really notice the bitterness from the oak barrel pick up at this point.
Mike: A rush of rich leather instantly develops on the tongue, followed by a fiery burn in the back of the throat. The burn is reminiscent of a young whiskey that could afford extra aging but not quite as sharp. A caramelization of softened butter and brown sugar are faint on the back of the palate, rounding out cooked oats.
Christian: Hunter & Scott delivers a medium finish that becomes more noticeable as the whiskey moves down from the mouth into the chest. There is a slight bitterness from the oak at this point, which quickly transitions into a light fruitiness of apples and tobacco. As I ruminate on my experience, I notice that the apple has become more like a stone fruit, maybe apricot, with an unexpected, but pleasant, herbal punch of rosemary. Water does little to change the finish. It remains medium length, with a slight heat. The finish takes on more of an apple cinnamon oatmeal.
Mike: The finish is medium to long. The burn dissipates quickly in the mouth then a faint cinder develops in the chest and fades just as quickly. There is a refreshing crispiness to the finish with an unusual bouquet of fresh cilantro.
Christian: Coming into this review, I didn’t know what to expect. We had tasted and enjoyed the 100% wheat mash bill some time ago, but had no experience with Reservoir’s other expressions. The Hunter & Scott Bourbon Whiskey, although young, offers a drinking experience that evolves with different flavor profiles from nose to finish. This bourbon is not my favorite pour neat, but I believe it accomplishes the stated goal of the distillery and works nicely with a cube of ice or in a cocktail. This product is priced at a more reasonable price point than other offerings by Reservoir, but I believe it will struggle to stand up amongst some of the more traditional giants of bourbon at the same competitive price point. I say give it a try; support your local Richmond Distillery!
Rating: 2.5 Rickhouses
Mike: The color and nose are more than satisfactory. Overall the nose is very intricate, the youngness doesn’t overpower the gentle aromas and presents wonderfully. The mouthfeel is average and this is where the youthfulness of the whiskey is exposed.
A splash of distilled water really opens the nose up to soft leather. The ethanol is still present but somewhat muted. The leather flavors continue into the mouth and really dominate the palate. The finish is virtually non-existent as the leather aromas linger delicately.
This is a fair offering from Reservoir. This was palatable neat and would be a good mixer. The addition of water did nothing for this pour, in my opinion, as the leathery-ness overpowered any complexities offered straight up.
Rating: 2.5 Rickhouses