Classification: Straight Bourbon
Company: Bradshaw Bourbon LLC
Distillery: Green River Distilling Company
Release Date: February 2020 (Ongoing)
Age: 2 Years
Mashbill: 70% Corn, 21% Rye, 9% Malted Barley
Color: Light Yellow Gold
MSRP: $40 (2021)
Terry Bradshaw had one of the most iconic and memorable careers in the history of professional football. Drafted number one overall in 1970, Bradshaw played for 14 seasons as the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He led the team to win four Super Bowls over the span of his career.
Bradshaw Bourbon is a collaboration between Bradshaw and Silver Screen Bottling Company, which is known for bottling several celebrity liquors. The bourbon is bottled at an ABV of 51.9% which is a nod to his career passing completion percentage.
The nose starts off gentle, with noticeable scents of grain that take shape in the form of fresh baked bread. Lightly layered in are scents of light caramel and vanilla propped up by scents of new oak. There is a hint of ethanol which is slightly jarring, however, overall it’s an acceptable way to start things off.
The sip starts off surprisingly sweet with noticeable hints of sweet cinnamon bark and vanilla. These sweet flavors quickly turn more spicy as the rye grain reveals itself. Exploring further however, brings out more tannic notes of oak, along with an off-putting cherry cough syrup note. There’s no shortcut for beating father time, and the bourbon's youthfulness and lack of time in the barrel is apparent in the palate.
The cherry cough syrup flavor carries over to the finish and is joined with a pronounced rye spice heat that verges on overbearing. While the heat lingers, thankfully the cherry syrup flavor quickly goes away and is instead replaced with rye grain and oak, along with a dash of vanilla. It’s surprisingly long lasting with the rye spice heat gripping your mouth longer than it has a right to based on its age. That same heat, however, seems to skew the finish ending the sip on a slightly unbalanced note.
Celebrities having their own alcohol line certainly isn’t a new concept. From Dan Arkroyd’s Crystal Head Vodka, to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s Teremana and Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin, there certainly isn’t a lack of big name stars endorsing various spirits. More recently in the world of bourbon, you’ve slowly started to see celebrities being tied to brands, with Bob Dylan’s Heaven’s Door and Payton Manning’s involvement in Sweetens Cove. This all is a way of saying that it’s not surprising (yet still a bit odd) that Terry Bradshaw now has his own bourbon line.
However, where Bradshaw Bourbon differs from Heaven’s Door or also his fellow NFL alumni’s Sweetens Cove, is the overall quality (or lack thereof) sip it delivers. Where Heaven’s Door and Sweetens Cove deliver above average pours and are easy to recommend to consumers, the same can’t be said for Bradshaw Bourbon. The sip shows its youth and makes you wonder why Bradshaw chose to use such a young bourbon to anchor his name next to. It doesn’t have any standout characteristics and will probably get lost in a sea of other bourbon choices. More than likely it probably comes down to its consumer friendly price point.
Coming in at a reasonable price of $40, Bradshaw Bourbon at first glance seems like it should be an average value of a bourbon. However the sip it delivers says otherwise. The two year old bourbon used by the brand teeters on being just below average to average. That might be acceptable at say a $30 price point, however even though it’s only $10 more, the price point of $40 just isn’t a good value for this bourbon. It’s clear in this case that you’re paying a premium for the celebrity name on the bottle versus the actual bourbon inside. It seems clear that Bradshaw is aiming for a more affordable celebrity endorsed bourbon, which is a largely untapped part of the market. If this is the case, the bourbon doesn’t have to be steller, as the Bradshaw name will easily move a $40 bourbon leaning heavily into impulse buy territory. That said, there are many everyday on the shelf bourbons that can be obtained for $40 that will deliver a more satisfying sip.
Bradshaw Bourbon is a good reminder that not every pass thrown in life ends up being a touchdown, as can be seen with this value priced celebrity bourbon which fails to impress where it counts the most.
Bradshaw Bourbon isn’t necessarily bad, however it also isn’t all that impressive either. The sip starts off with promising scents only to end on delivering below average qualities. It simply comes down to the fact that the younger bourbon chosen for this line could greatly benefit from another year or two in the barrel. For Steelers fans or even fans of Bradshaw himself, this won’t matter. For everyone else however, it won’t quite live up to expectations. It’s a reminder that just because the celebrity who’s name appears on the product has excelled in their former career, that their success won’t necessarily carry over to the product that they're endorsing.