Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Bourbon Review: Uncle Nearest 1856

Last week we reviewed a mead with Viking Blod and this week we shift the spotlight to bourbon. Well, it could be a bourbon but it is actually a Tennessee whiskey, it’s Uncle Nearest 1856.

Before I get into the review, I think we should talk about exactly who was Uncle Nearest and how it came about to have a whiskey named after him. We all know about how Jack Daniel ran away from home as a teenager and found refuge at the Dan Call farm where the preacher told his master distiller to teach young Jack everything he knew. Now it just so happens that Call’s master distiller happened to be a slave named Nathan Green but everyone affectionately referred to him as Uncle Nearest. It was Uncle Nearest that taught young Jack Daniel how to distill whiskey and more than likely greatly contributed to the charcoal filtering that is synonymous with Tennessee whiskey, now called the Lincoln County Process. Somewhere back in time, with the rise of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey, the story of Uncle Nearest got lost. But when JD started to celebrate their 150th anniversary, I guess they got a little nostalgic and Uncle Nearest was given credit where credit was due. Then Fawn Weaver took up the mantle of setting the record straight and telling the true story of Uncle Nearest, as well as launching the brand to honor him. For more information, check out the Uncle Nearest website.
Now let’s get on with the review. Uncle Nearest is bottled at 100 proof (50% Alc./Vol.) and I sampled the whiskey in a Glencairn glass after letting it sit for approximately 15 minutes.

Appearance: In the bottle, the whiskey had a bronze or dark copper color which didn’t change much in the glass although there did seem to be a slight orange tint around the edges. That may have been a flare from the lighting though.

Palate: First impressions on the initial taste was more of the caramel and vanilla. Subsequent tastings revealed hints of cinnamon and maybe dried fruit and toasted nuts. As you swallow you get a peppery spiciness but it is not overpowering and is well balanced with the sweetness of the juice. There seemed to be an underlying taste of oak and corn throughout the entire experience.

Finish: The oak and spiciness stay with you during the long finish that is balanced by hints of caramel and molasses. It provided a good mouthfeel that seemed to evenly coat my mouth with sweet, spicy stickiness that urged me to take another drink.

Conclusion: Uncle Nearest is a sourced whiskey coming from two undisclosed Tennessee distillers (one is probably George Dickel) but the folks have done a decent job blending them. While Uncle Nearest is waiting on their own mash, which is currently being distilled at Corsair Distillery in Nashville while they build their own distillery in Shelbyville, they will continue to source their juice. But that is not necessarily a bad thing and if you get a chance to grab a bottle of 1856, by all means give it a try.

Well, that’s all I have for now. Until next time, drink more bourbon, drink more mead and remember to always drink curious!

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