Review: Tim Smith Southern Reserve Bourbon

DSR – NC – 020: Tim Smith Southern Reserve Bourbon

Company/Distillery: Two Trees Distilling Company

Location: Fletcher, North Carolina

Mash Bill: Undisclosed; At Least 51% Corn.

Age Statement: 24 Hours

Proof/ABV: 90 Proof/45% ABV

Color & Viscosity: Tim Smith’s Southern Reserve Bourbon presents chestnut in color while viewing this whiskey from the bottle. In the glass, a beautiful deep gold color is exhibited. This whiskey produces a medium lipped viscous line with thick legs that rapidly descend down the sides of the tasting vessel.   

Purchase Price: $27.95 from the North Carolina ABC

Bottle Label Information:

Front Label

“Tim Smith Southern Reserve Bourbon”

“Whiskey Wood-Fired”

“Distilled and bottled by Two Trees Distilling Co., Fletcher, NC USA”

Back Label

“Tim Smith Southern Reserve Bourbon”

“Whiskey Wood-Fired”

“Aged in Oak 24 Hours”

“Colored & Flavored with Barrel Grade Oak Chips”

Distillery Background

Two Trees Distilling Co.

Located a short 12 miles due south of Asheville, NC in the town of Fletcher resides Two Trees Distilling Company. The idea to launch Two Trees Distilling Company began in 2016 when two friends, Chad Slagel and Keith Mort, appeared on the popular Discovery TV series Moonshiners, alongside well known moonshiner and TV personality, Tim Smith. Home brewers Slagel and Mort appeared on the show in order to introduce their recent invention, The Whiskey Time Machine, which can be used to achieve the same effect of aging whiskey in a barrel for 5 years, in less than one day–actually the process takes approximately two and a half hours. Originally, the duo worked on a line of products for Tim Smith at the home of Troy & Sons at Asheville Distilling Company until, in 2018, they moved the operation to Fletcher and officially launched Two Trees Distilling Company. 

So how do they achieve an aged spirit in less than one-half of a work shift? Two Trees selects, toasts, and chars all the wood used in the production of the wood chips used in the aging process. This allows the company to use less than 10 pounds of wood chips to age a whiskey in about 24 hours. In the case of Tim Smith’s Southern Reserve Bourbon, Two Trees Distilling Company is able to take Climax white dog distillate and run it through the Whiskey Time Machine for 2 ½ hours, achieving what they believe to be an age and taste profile similar to a whiskey spending up to 5 years in a 53-gallon barrel. After the spirit comes out of the Whiskey Time Machine, it is then held in new white oak containers for 24 hours before being bottled. If you would like to see the Whiskey Time Machine or hear more about the process at Two Trees Distilling, feel free to watch this short YouTube video.

Tasting Notes

Tasting Date/Vessel: May 1, 2022 – Neat in a Glencairn glass; Then with a few drops of distilled water.


Christian: In the bottle, Tim Smith Southern Reserve emits aromas of chewing tobacco, raw corn, and a generous hint of campfire smoke. After allowing the bourbon to rest in my Glencairn glass, my first whiff of the spirit brings forth a noticeable aroma of clear new make or moonshine with cereal grains dominant. As was the case with the bottle, freshly ground raw yellow corn is front and center. Very light hints of earthy peanuts, corn husk, and smoke are present as well. My first impression is that of a rather docile unaged whiskey, without an overabundance of identifiable aromas present. The addition of water doesn’t change the nose very much. Corn remains dominant with the raw moonshine qualities gently moving more in the background.

Mike: Nosing this bourbon from the bottle, I immediately observe heavy suggestions of campfire smoke with a delectable hint of charred marshmallow. From the glass, brown sugar and fresh oatmeal permeate from the top. A gentle swirl releases aromas of new make whiskey followed by sharp overtones of ethanol. There is a subtle fruity sweetness lingering in the back that is mostly undetectable, but leans towards the stone fruit persuasion.


Christian: The mouthfeel on this whiskey is thick and oily but silky smooth. My first impression is that this offering is super sweet on the tip of the tongue. Sweet buttered corn and typical moonshine flavors are present. A second taste allows just a touch of sweet vanilla and light brown sugar to show up, plus a kiss of oak popping in, albeit very faint. Tim Smith Southern Reserve Bourbon is by no means complex, but what flavor it does offer is both sweet and palatable. Distilled water really allows the vanilla and buttered corn to stand strong, almost like a sweet corn pudding with a custard base.

Mike: This Southern Reserve Bourbon from Tim Smith is semi-dry on the palate with a delicate sweetness of honey that is revealed on the first sip. A second pass of this whiskey leads with a medium bodied mouthfeel, followed up by a swift charge of bitter oak char then a restrained honeysuckle flower saccharinity


Christian: Tim Smith Southern Reserve Bourbon has a short to medium finish that is delicate and unassuming. A light warmth rises from my chest but extinguishes quickly. The flavors of the other parts of this pour extend well into the finish. Light flamed-kissed yellow corn grilled in its husk brings on a slight smokiness and delicate honey adds just a wisp of sweetness in the finish. At times I think there is a touch of fruit in the finish, but it dissipates just as fast as it was present. What little warmth and finish was present, disappears with the distilled water. But man does sweet cinnamon sugar apples really come forward. Not a bad way to wrap up the pour.

Mike: This bourbon provides a well-balanced, soft to medium finish. Somewhat smoky in profile, yielding warmth is consistent from throat to mid-chest that quickly swells then fades just as rapidly.There is a trace of semi-sweet apple lingering on the palate to close out this finish.

Our Rating

Final Thoughts

Christian: A few adjectives that come to mind when thinking about this whiskey is unassuming, mild, restrained, and modest. But I will be honest, in the right mood and wanting something light and corn forward, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick this up. It’s smooth, approachable, and unique. I don’t think that the quick aging does much to the overall flavors of the product. This is in no way a substitute for tried and true barrel aging. My biggest hang up is that it is almost like Tim Smith doesn’t want you to have any preconceived opinions made by marketing. I don’t know what they want you to think this product is – a moonshine quick aged, a quick aged bourbon that can compete with the big brands, or the result of a science experiment. So, as a result, I don’t really know what to grade this sample. Is it drinkable? Yes. Do I like the flavors? Sure. Can I drink it when it’s sitting around? Absolutely. Will I seek it out once this bottle is empty? Probably not. As advertised as “Bourbon”, Tim Smith Southern Reserve Bourbon just doesn’t have what it takes to compete with the barrel-aged field with offerings at $30.

Rating: 2.25 Rickhouses

Mike: This is a less than adequate offering from Two Trees Distilling Company. There is flavor, but nothing substantially established. Definitely not the worst rapid aged product I’ve been introduced to since this Rickhouse Ramblings journey began, but it is probably one of the better rapid aged products I’ve tried. All that being said, there really is no comparison for time spent aging in a barrel. I’m not necessarily a traditionalist in the viewpoint that bourbon must be aged in the standard 53 gallon barrel. I have tasted many offerings aged in smaller barrels that were outstanding. Personally, I’d leave this on the shelf in favor of Tim Smith’s Climax Moonshine, which just so happened to win our Moonshine Blind Taste-Off Championship Finals.

Rating: 2.50 Rickhouses


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