DSR – MS – 001: Old Soul Blended Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Company/Distillery: Cathead Distillery
Location: Jackson, Mississippi
Mash Bill: 75% Corn, 21% Rye, and 4% Malted Barley
Age Statement: 55% Straight Bourbon Aged For 4 Years 8 Months; 35% Straight Bourbon Aged for 4 Years 3 Months; 10% Straight Bourbon Aged for 2 Years 1 Month.
Proof/ABV: 90 Proof/45% ABV
Color & Viscosity: Light tawny in color. There is a slight haze to the whiskey in the glass. Medium bodied viscous line that produces numerous smooth and velvety legs that swiftly fall to the belly of the tasting vessel.
Purchase Price: $44.95 from the NC ABC Store January 2021; 750 ml
Bottle Label Information:
“Old Soul Blended Straight Bourbon Whiskey”
“Hand Selected | High Rye | Non-Chill Filtered | No Color Added | Jackson, Mississippi”
“Product of Mississippi’s Oldest Distillery”
“Old Soul Straight Bourbon Whiskey”
“21% Rye 75% Corn 4% Malted Barley”
“Batch No: 1 | Barrels Produced: 93”
“This Old Soul is a precise blend of whiskey. Each with an identical high-rye mash bill. Aged for different amounts of time. Each barrel is reviewed by nose & palate – the old fashioned way – & expertly blended from whiskeys distilled in Indiana & Mississippi. Hand-made and hand-selected. Old Soul is the perfect metaphor for our bourbon. One that is thoughtfully crafted with a nod to both tradition & the future.”
“55% Straight Bourbon Aged For 4 Years 8 Months | 35% Straight Bourbon Aged For 4 Years 3 Months | 10% Straight Bourbon Aged For 2 Years 1 Month”
“catheaddistillery.com | 422 S. Farish Street, Jackson, MS 39201”
Cathead Distillery holds the unique distinction of being Mississippi’s oldest distillery. The distillery was established in 2010 by Austin Evans (Alpharetta, GA) and Richard Patrick (Jackson, MS). The pair met in college at the University of Alabama where they both studied small business. After college, the two followed each other to Charleston, South Carolina where they both would gain experience in the alcohol beverage industry. Upon completion of their college degrees, the two were driven by a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to start and run a business together. That dream would be realized in 2010, when they would move from Charleston, South Carolina to Gluckstadt, Mississippi and promptly launch the state’s first legal distillery since prohibition.
Like many craft distilleries, Cathead Distilling started out making its Cathead Vodka (including its Honeysuckle and Pecan flavors), Bristow Gin, and Hoodoo Chicory Liqueur. In December 2015, Cathead Distilling would move to downtown Jackson, Mississippi, allowing them to expand their space from 2,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet. This relocation opened up the capability for the company to expand into another offering–whiskey. In addition, Mississippi legislature would pass new laws which would allow Cathead Distilling to welcome in the public and offer tastings and tours.
Cathead Distilling operates under the watchful eye of Distiller Phillip Lander. Mr. Lander, a Mississippi native and University of Mississippi alum, first entered into the alcoholic beverage industry through the wine industry. After a short stint in the retail side of wine, Lander decided to jump into the operations side and moved to New Zealand to work for Spy Valley Wines. From New Zealand, Lander would move to Napa Valley where he would eventually land the title of Assistant Winemaker for Pahlmeyer Winery. Mr. Lander got his first taste of the distilled spirits industry when he joined Stillwater Spirits in Petaluma, CA where he became heavily involved in the American Distilling Institute (ADI).
Old Soul Blended Straight Bourbon Whiskey
The newest product offering by Cathead Distillery is its Blended Whiskey known as Old Soul Blended Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Old Soul uses a blend of three different whiskies, all of which have the same high-rye mash bill of 75% Corn, 21% Rye, and 4% Malted Barley. The oldest straight bourbon whiskey of the blend, which makes up 55%, is aged for 4 years 8 months. The second oldest straight bourbon whiskey accounts for 35% of the blend and is aged at 4 years 3 months. It is presumed that both of these bourbons are sourced from MGP of Lawrenceburg, Indiana. The third and final straight bourbon included in the blend, accounting for 10%, is the 2 year 1 month old bourbon distillate made in-house by Cathead Distillery.
Tasting Date/Vessel: February 10, 2021 – Neat in Glencairn Glass; then with a few drops of distilled water added.
Christian: A quick nose of the bottle produces a generous dose of brown sugar with a slight hint of fruitiness. As I swirl the spirit in my Glencairn glass and raise it for my first nosing, I quickly pick up sweetness reminiscent of decadent dessert. There is a slight hint of ethanol early but this promptly gives way to Madagascar vanilla beans, baking spice, and hard caramel candies. A second gentle swirl brings a nice punch of vanilla buttercream icing forward. I am really digging this nose. Adding a few drops of water turns this pour into a brown sugar bomb! The caramel ramps up nicely and is joined in symphony with a very light rye spice. This pour has a well balanced range of aromas.
Mike: Muted brown sugar notes with a robust wine-like aroma penetrates the nostrils upon first sniff. A gentle swirl releases soft vanilla bouquets and bites of cinnamon. As I move the Glencairn glass around my nose in a circular motion, I’m enticed with the aroma of vanilla cake batter or fresh vanilla pudding with just a pinch of fresh ground cinnamon on top. A splash of water immensely opens the nose to strong notes of brown sugar. A swirl releases oatmeal and crème, like opening the cellophane on a fresh Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie cookie.
Christian: The mouthfeel is a little thin but it does have a creamy sensation. As I take my first sip, I taste toasted brown sugar, leather, and a nice hint of oak. There is definitely a citrus note in this one that is very reminiscent of grapefruit. One last swirl and taste allows graham cracker and baking spices from the rye to tickle the palate. Man, the distilled water really makes Old Soul sweet on my palate. Absent are any citrus notes. Brown sugar, leather, and oak shine strong at this point.
Mike: My opening sip is somewhat thin with a creamy first impression. Citrus crème filling develops quickly and moves across the palate as the essence of leather and oak gently progress front to back. Dependent upon the volume of your sip, an agreeable burn is produced toward the back of the throat. The addition of water appears to dry out the overall mouthfeel. Gone is the creaminess as tobacco and leather flavors dominate.
Christian: Old Soul has a really nice medium finish. At first there is a rush of dryness from the oak char, but this quickly gives way to notes of leather, vanilla, and a little zip of black pepper. Again, as things begin to wane, I notice the citrusy hint of grapefruit which slowly becomes sweeter and more like a fresh peach. The distilled water really zaps the finish here. Everything becomes really muted. Much of the rye kick is gone, leaving mainly bitter oak char with a slight hint of caramel and fresh cut tobacco remaining. Overall the finish remains pretty dry.
Mike: Old Soul offers a moderate and delicate finish that leaves behind an appealing sweet curing tobacco flavor. A quick bite of bitter oak is detected and is just as swiftly replaced by a lingering bitter orange peel zest. Water subdues the finish and enhances the oak aromas as the bitter orange peel becomes sweeter in texture the longer it lingers.
Christian: Going into this review, Mike and I had never had any spirits distilled by Cathead Distillery. Taking a chance on Old Soul seemed like a bit of Hail Mary pass that came with a little bit of risk. I am actually glad we took the chance. Old Soul’s opening act, the nose, is simply fantastic. Anyone who knows me, knows that a quick way to my heart is through buttercream icing – and this whiskey delivers on that. Although not overly complex, Old Soul offers a balanced pour on the palate with a nice finish that lets you know you are having whiskey. I personally prefer Old Soul neat, without the addition of water. However, I feel that drinkers who like to add a cube of ice or dash of water would still enjoy a nice pour of this on the deck in springtime.
My final thought on this pour – don’t sleep on Old Soul! Yes, a large percentage of this whiskey may be sourced, however, Head Distiller Phillip Lander does a fantastic job of blending an enjoyable and flavor filled juice for your enjoyment. Give it a shot, you might just find something to keep around the bar.
Rating: 3.375 Rickhouses
Mike: Old Soul is a blend of two 4-year and one 2-year bourbons, with 90% of the blended whiskies being 4 years old. Per usual, I taste and jot down notes then several days later, as I type the review, I sit down with another pour. When we initially tasted this, the pour was just average for me. The second pass, while writing this review, I noticed the flavors and taste really open up. All of the opening flavors are there but more enhanced. This is a very decent offering but the price point may scare some buyers off. However, it is definitely worth a try if you’re looking to branch out to something non-Kentucky.
At 90 proof, I prefer this neat. Adding just a touch of water might open up the nose for some, but mixing it with water or adding copious amounts of ice, will cause this bourbon to be drowned out. If that’s what you’re into (absolutely no judgement here), save your money and buy something more reasonably priced.
Rating: 3.0 Rickhouses