Colour: Deep Copper.
Nose: Raisins, vanilla, corn and rye bread, hints of grass and baking spices.
Taste: Raisins, vanilla, a few dashes of pepper and rye spices, rich corn bread.
“Graceless lady you know who I am.
You know I can’t let you slide through my hands.
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.
Wild, wild horses couldn’t drag me away.
Every time you pour yourself a dram to explore, the whiskey tells you its story. The aromas, flavours, and colours, all weaved together to take you along on a journey like all good stories do. This is California Cowboy’s Straight Bourbon Whiskey’s tale. It starts off like many other bourbons do – in Kentucky. Our protagonist though, is a restless spirit. This is where the delicious plot twist takes place. The bourbon ends up in California to be bottled.
On the nose, the next chapter opens with wafts of raisins. Juicy, chewy raisins. The plot gets deeper with vanilla, sweet rich corn bread which is nicely counterpoised by spicy rye bread notes. Chapter Three, the tasting, keeps the story moving at a good pace with its 44% abv. It’s not a steamy story but don’t worry, there is some heat in here. The plot line doesn’t change much on the palate continuing with the vanilla, rich corn bread, the spicy rye bread notes. There are some peppery dashes which a little more flourish to the liquid narrative. California Cowboy does have a typical bourbon backstory: aged in new charred oak barrels for at least two years. It has a mash of at least 51% corn, in this case it’s 71%. Also in the mix are rye at 21% and barley at 9%.
Not a spoiler alert – I read somewhere that this is a 2-year old bourbon. Normally straight bourbons under four years of age must have an age statement. California Cowboy doesn’t have one listed on the label. Another plot twist perhaps? Anyway, on to the ending.
California Cowboy’s story in the glass isn’t an overly complex, multi faceted, drawn out affair. But then again, we always don’t want to dive into Lord Of The Rings either. This bourbon is well balanced and, despite it being a relatively young whisky, acts with the maturity and poise of a more aged spirit. California Cowboy’s finish is a perfect example. It’s not an “Exit-Stage-Left-Roll-Credits” ending. Rather, the finish stays and stays and stays.
The story her, though, goes well beyond the glass. For every bottle of California Cowboy sold, a portion of the proceeds go towards the Wild Horse Sanctuary in Shingletown, California. They rescued 80 wild horses that were to be destroyed and gave them all a second shot at life on a 5,000-acre mountain meadow. Just shows that happy endings aren’t always works of fiction. Cheers.
Footnote: the “Exit Stage Left” is not a reference to the Rush Live Album. It’s what Hanna-Barbera’s cartoon character, Snagglepuss, would say when he had to leave – sometimes in a hurry.