DSR – NC – 013: Doc Porter’s Bourbon Whiskey
Company/Distillery: Doc Porter’s Distillery
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Mash Bill: 60% Corn, 30% Wheat, and 10% Malted Barley
Age Statement: A Minimum of 8 Months
Proof/ABV: 90 Proof/45% ABV
Color & Viscosity: Dark russet to light tawny in color. Doc Porter’s has a thin viscous line with thick oily legs that are quick to glide down to the belly of the glass. Overall, the appearance is thin as it sits in the tasting vessel.
Purchase Price: $39.95 from the NC ABC February 2021; 750 ml
Bottle Label Information:
“Doc Porter’s Craft Spirits – Charlotte, NC”
“Cleverly Crafted North Carolina Bourbon Whiskey”
Right Side Label
“Batch No. 19”
“Distilled and Bottled by Doc Porter’s Distillery, Charlotte, NC”
Left Side Label
“Small Barrel Bourbon”
“Our bourbon is crafted from scratch using the finest, locally-sourced North Carolina grains (60% corn, 30% wheat, 10% malted barley). After distilling to perfection, the high-wheat spirit rests a minimum of 8 months in 15 or 30-gallon American white oak barrels (#3 Char). While standard 53-gallon barrels can take 4 years to mellow, these smaller barrels offer a more intimate connection with our high-quality, hand-made spirit, leading to the development of a smooth bouquet of flavors. Drink it neat, on the rocks, or in your favorite cocktail and feel proud to support a grain-to-glass honest craft product with every sip.”
“Andrew & Liz Porter”
Doc Porter’s Distillery
Doc Porter’s Distillery was founded in 2014 by husband and wife duo, Andrew and Liz Porter. Prior to the opening of his distillery, Andrew spent his day to day life as a chemical engineer while Liz practiced sports marketing. Andrew had previous experience with home brewing, thus creating the itch for him to explore the fine art of distilling. Together, Andrew and Liz would launch Doc Porter’s Distillery which is named after Andrew’s grandfather, Doc Porter. Doc Porter served in the U.S. Navy before becoming a radiologist working with radioactive isotopes. He would nurture and instill a love of science in his grandson which ultimately lead him to opening the distillery.
Until recently, Doc Porter’s was located at East Peterson Drive in Charlotte, North Carolina. At the distillery, Master Distiller Carl White handled the day-to-day distillation operations. This included the hand milling of all North Carolina grains, mashing, fermenting, distillation, barrel aging, and bottling. Everyone at Doc Porter’s took pride in producing a true grain-to-glass product that used 6,000 pounds of grains per month from within a 40 mile radius of Charlotte, NC. All distillation was handled in house, without any sourcing. Finally, the distiller would then return the spent mash back to local farmers for cattle feed.
Unfortunately, in late 2020, Doc Porter’s Distillery was unable to renew their lease with the property owner and have closed their store front in Charlotte. At this time, no plans for the future of the distillery have been disclosed. Doc Porter’s currently has four products available on the market: Doc Porter’s Vodka; Doc Porter’s Gin; Doc Porter’s Bourbon; Doc Porter’s Rye. Check your local North Carolina or South Carolina ABC stores to see if you can try one of these products before inventory is no longer available.
Doc Porter’s Bourbon
Doc Porter’s Bourbon was distilled on-site at the Charlotte, NC distillery. This bourbon was made using a mash bill of 60% corn, 30% wheat, and 10% malted barley. After distillation, the bourbon was aged for at least 8 months in new 15-30 gallon #3 char American oak barrels before being bottled. The bottle we tried for this review came from batch #19.
Tasting Date/Vessel: April 11, 2021 – Neat in Glencairn Glass; Then with a few drops of distilled water.
Christian: In the bottle, this bourbon presents itself with a hint of fruitiness that then launches into a punch of tobacco and brown sugar. It smells absolutely delicious in the bottle. In my Glencairn glass, there is an early touch of ethanol that quickly gives way to a strong floral aroma – a pop of fresh cut flowers. As I swirl the glass a little more, a gentle sweetness moves to the forefront. Notes of vanilla, brown sugar, and pie crust all rush to mind. As I nose deeper, I begin to notice a slight hint of vanilla pudding and lemon zest. Doc Porter’s has a delicate and intriguing nose. Adding water helps dampen the floral notes and allows the characteristic caramel and brown sugar notes of bourbon to well up nicely.
Mike: As I nose this bourbon straight from the bottle, I’m hit with a fruity essence that transitions to fresh curing tobacco leaves. Raising the glass to my nose, I’m met with rich brown sugar and oatmeal aromas along with a bite of ethanol. A swirl of the glass substantially enhances the fullness of brown sugar and oatmeal. As I pull the glass back, there is a noticeable zest of citrus and black pepper. Arriving late and very soft to the nose is toasted oak and warmed cinnamon covered apples.
Christian: As I take a little sip, the mouthfeel on this bourbon coats my tongue nicely and has a slightly oily consistency. On the tip of my tongue there is a generous sweetness that is noticeable early on. Cinnamon baking spice leads out of the gate, but is quickly followed by a nice buttery pie crust flavor. This transitions nicely to a simple nuttiness, reminding me of toasted pecans or walnuts. Honestly, as I sit and reflect on this pour, it reminds me a lot of a warm freshly backed pecan pie with a hint of cinnamon spice. Overall, there’s a decent sweetness with a little zip. The addition of distilled water really sweetens up the palate on this one, however, it also introduces an interesting cinnamon kick as well. A little more honey becomes present on the palate, blended with the toasted nuts.
Mike: Big Red chewing gum and aged leather are detected on the first sip with that sharp cinnamon punch being really pronounced. The second sip is more leather forward with an indulgent hint of roasted figs. As I let it sit on my tongue, the intensity of the leather aromas flourish on the palate.
Christian: Doc Porter’s Bourbon has a short to medium finish. It is at this point that I notice a slight oak char welling up on the palate. This is joined, again, by the persistent nut flavors of toasted pecans. I think the youngness of the whiskey shows late here, like a late arriving hug warming deep in my chest and slowly rising towards my throat. A very late but noticeable pop of licorice begins to appear long after the last splash has disappeared. Curiously, the finish intensifies with the addition of water. There is an added kick of black pepper in the finish which quickly transitions to black licorice and a mild melon flavor profile.
Mike: Doc Porter’s offers a delicate finish. That pop of sweet cinnamon coating on a stick of Big Red chewing gum lingers in the mouth. Suggestions of Nutty Bavarian cinnamon pecans tantalize the back of the throat. A mellow warmth develops mid-chest and there is a tickle of hot cinnamon candy in the back of the throat. As I hold this whiskey on my tongue then imbibe, charred oak flavors consume and coat the palate agreeably.
Christian: This is a decent young bourbon from North Carolina. Overall the pour is enjoyable with an aromatic nose and sweet palate. For me, the finish is where this bourbon loses a little steam. Most of the flavoring is a little light and would pick up steam with a little more time in the barrel. Priced at $39.95, this whiskey is in line with other peer craft distillery offerings in our area. I do hope that Doc Porter’s can find another location and get things up and running again. Overall, I find the bourbon to be an easy sipper with pleasant flavors and lots of potential. A few additional years on this bourbon could really produce a shining star on the North Carolina whiskey scene.
Rating: 2.75 Rickhouses
Mike: Doc Porter’s boasts a minimum of 8 months in the barrel, but uses a blend aged in 15 and 30 gallon barrels. I know there are plenty of critics against the use of smaller barrels but since this Rickhouse Ramblings journey began, we have tasted some good whiskies that use the smaller, non-traditional sized barrels. I contend aging in barrel sizes other than 53 gallon barrels is no longer something to be frowned upon.
The bottom line is, there are producers out to make money in an industry that is booming and there are true artisans to this craft and finding those artisans is what our journey is all about!
Doc Porter’s North Carolina Bourbon Whiskey is a true artisan spirit. If you have access to it, I’d highly suggest you grab a bottle. It drinks perfectly at 90 proof, neat in a glass. Sláinte!
Rating: 3.375 Rickhouses