Sunday, May 12, 2019

Caught on COLA - Bourbon

Welcome to the first installment of what I hope will be a regular feature here on Bourbon and Mead called Caught on COLA. Now when I say COLA, I'm not talking some syrupy soft drink that people called pop when I was growing up in Michigan. I'm referring to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau's Certificate of Label Approval, the clearinghouse for the approval of all labels of alcoholic beverages in the United States. All our wonderful intoxicating beverage makers submit their labels to the COLA registry for approval prior to bottling their delicious libations and distributing it to the masses.  So why is this important to us? Well, this information is open to the public and is a great way to see what our favorite distilleries or meaderies have in the works. Speaking of meaderies, I plan on having two different Caught on COLAs, One for bourbon and one for mead so that explains the post title. Now that I've explained all that, let's see what is sitting in those rickhouses.

First up I found a label for Milam & Greene from Provision Spirits, LLC who brings us Ben Milam Bourbon and Rye.  According to the label, this release is going to be a blend of four-year old Tennessee bourbon, 10-year old Tennessee bourbon and two-year old Texas bourbon. It's been proofed down to 94 proof (47% Alc./Vol.) and claims to be made for cocktails and gentle sipping. No word on a release date yet since they just got the COLA approval on May 8th. Since I am fan of Ben Milam bourbon (and most Texas whiskeys for that matter), I will definitely be looking for this one.
Next up we have a Lux Row Distillers wheated release called Kentucky Best. The label states that this 80-proof (40% Alc./Vol.) entry is "rich with caramel and honey flavors and hints of oak." Lux Row has brought us some nice wheaters before with Rebel Yell and David Nicholson 1843, so it will be interesting to see how this one compares. Calling it Kentucky Best is a bold move, in my opinion, especially considering the amount of great bourbon produced in Kentucky. No info on a release date but they received their COLA approval on May 8th as well. 
Our next COLA discovery is Old Tub from Jim Beam. Apparently, at least according to the label, before the Beam family made Jim Beam, they made Old Tub. This limited release is a 100 proof (50% Alc./Vol.), bottled-in-bond tribute to that original mash. I really want to try this but I'm not sure I'll be able to track it down. It won't be for the lack of trying though, that's for sure.
Our final contestant is called Valley Tan from Utah's High West distillery. Another wheated release, Valley Tan comes in at 87 proof (43.5 Alc./Vol.). The label features early Utah territory lawman and so-called Mormon "Destroying Angel" Porter Rockwell and there is brief anecdote about him on the back label. Valley tan originally referred to the tanning of hides by the early Mormon settlers but late became to refer to anything that was homemade.  Therefore, High West has made their whiskey with wheat and aged it in both new and used barrels. Like the others, no information on a release date or tasting notes.  

Well, folks, that's all for this installment of Caught on COLA. I'll keep snooping around and will post if I find anything interesting.  Until next time, cheers!

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