Classification: Straight Bourbon
Company: Provision Spirits LLC
Distillery: Sourced from an undisclosed Tennessee distillery
Release Date: Ongoing
Age: NAS (Aged at least 4 years per TTB regulations)
Mashbill: 80% Corn, 10% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Color: Rose Gold
Price: $55 (2023)
Milam & Greene was founded in 2017 in Blanco, Texas. According to the company’s website, “Milam & Greene was created by founder Marsha Milam, whiskey expert and Master Blender Heather Greene, and Kentucky veteran Master Distiller Marlene Holmes.” The company currently takes a multifaceted “all of the above” approach to creating their products, which includes sourcing, distilling whiskey using their 300 gallon copper pot still, and distilling whiskey on a classic column still in Bardstown, Kentucky (Bardstown Bourbon Company). They use a proprietary yeast strain and mature and finish whiskeys in Blanco, Texas. Releases range from 100% sourced, to 100% distilled in-house, to blends of both sourced and in-house distilled along with blends of whiskeys sourced from multiple states.
The particular bourbon in review is sourced from Tennessee but not from Cascade Hollow Distilling Co., is non-chill filtered, and part of their 2022 single barrel release. The bourbon in review comes from cask number 109.
Delicate scents of summer fruit, apricot, and allspice layer over top a light seasoned oak base. Hints of green apple and light cigar box add a layer of dimension, albeit with an element of restraint that’s exemplary of the lower proof. It isn’t especially remarkable, but establishes a soft, pleasant baseline.
Immediately noticeable is the bourbon’s mouthfeel, which is notably silky and accented by a light sprinkling of spice. Stone fruit, caramel, and allspice are punctuated by a light but savory tobacco note on the backend. While it forgoes a level of depth, it’s well balanced and approachable, maintaining the pleasant baseline established on the nose.
The spice notes intensify in the finish, which offers a fusion of baking spices, allspice, and nutmeg in cohesive form. A faint dash of cinnamon gives way to an intensifying sweet caramel base on the backend. The spice lingers against the sweet foundation, making for a satisfying finish.
The company’s products vary significantly from in-house distilled, to distilled (by Milam & Greene) on a traditional column still at Bardstown Bourbon Company since 2019, to entirely sourced from other distilleries. This “all of the above” approach isn’t overly common, but one we are seeing more and more of (though it can be difficult to suss out who is contract distilling versus simply sourcing). When done effectively, this strategy allows a company to offer a wide range of whiskeys spanning styles, ages, and distillery sources. Because sourcing whiskey can imply a negative connotation in the sense that the company bottling the whiskey may not be providing any added value, it’s important to understand sourcing is just one aspect of Milam & Greene’s product line. Moreover, selecting barrels, blending, aging longer, finishing, and other aspects of determining if and when a whiskey is worthy of bottling require quite a bit of skill (and risk).
With that being said, this particular single barrel is fairly straightforward and most notably, was not distilled by Cascade Hollow Distilling Co., though the source cannot be disclosed due to an NDA. Like its barrel proof counterpart, Milam & Greene Single Barrel offers a silky mouthfeel similar to that offered by Old Elk Blended Straight Bourbon. Like Old Elk, it’s Milam & Greene Single Barrel’s most noteworthy trait, which helps it stand out slightly even at its lower proof point.
Coming in at $55, Milam & Greene’s price point feels about on par with what I would expect for a relatively new-to-market release with stats similar to this one. Being a single barrel adds a bit more value, as curating barrels that are worthy of bottling on their own requires more attention to detail. However, the bourbon’s lack of an age statement (it’s likely about 4-5 years old), undisclosed distillation source, and lower proof point are aspects that can draw down a whiskey’s overall value and price.
Stating the obvious, fine-tuned Kentucky majors like Buffalo Trace ($30), Knob Creek Small Batch ($35), and Four Roses Small Batch ($30) are difficult for any small distillery to compete with directly. But small, more highly curated releases like Milam & Greene Single Barrel aren’t trying to compete with those examples in volume or consumer attention. But competition is still fierce, as the options in the $50-$60 range (or less) really open up, making it more difficult to capture consumers’ attention. Instead, alternatives such as Yellowstone Select Bourbon ($50), Bardstown Bourbon Company Origin Series Bourbon ($45), and Ben Holladay Bottled in Bond Missouri Bourbon ($60) begin to paint a more clear picture of more unique, nuanced bourbons in a similar price range. Being a single barrel adds further nuance to Milam & Greene’s offering, as other single barrel offerings like Blanton’s Original Single Barrel ($65+) and Baker’s Bourbon 7 Year Single Barrel ($60) are a few similarly priced (at MSRP at least) examples.
There are also plenty of bourbons originating from MGP, of which the quality and value ranges significantly. Given this landscape, I don’t feel Milam & Greene Single Barrel is overpriced, and instead clocks in at a fair price point assuming you are seeking out a bourbon with a lower proof point.
Milam & Greene’s Tennessee sourced single barrel bourbon offers a silky mouthfeel and pleasant drinking experience.
Milam & Greene is just starting to get their feet off the ground, utilizing a strategy that involves distilling with their own copper pot still in Texas, with a traditional column still in Kentucky, and by sourcing whiskeys from a number of sources across the country. Their single barrel product is currently 100% sourced bourbon, and this particular single barrel originates from an undisclosed distillery in Tennessee. As a result, Milam & Greene’s Single Barrel Bourbon highlights just one small aspect of what the company is up to which is important to distinguish. The bourbon is average, with an above average finish and notably silky mouthfeel though it’s tempered by its sub-90 proof point. It’s ideal for someone who enjoys this lower proof point, and who is seeking a bourbon that is fairly straightforward with just a few small, nuanced twists.