Never Say Die Small Batch Bourbon


Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: N.S.D. Spirits

Distillery: Sourced from an undisclosed Kentucky distillery(ies)

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 95

Age: NAS (Press release states 6 years)

Mashbill: 75% Corn, 21% Rye, 4% Malted Barley

Color: Yellow Gold

MSRP: $70 / 700mL (2024)

Official Website

Press Release

Never Say Die is one of the rare American whiskey brands that started outside of the United States. Initially launched in the United Kingdom in September 2022, the brand made its debut in the United States in November 2023. The company states that the bourbon is aged for approximately 5 years in Kentucky before taking a 6 week ocean voyage to age approximately another year over in England. The bourbon is then reimported into the United States before being sold. The brand states that they cap each small batch run to 2,750 bottles.

The brand derives its name from a horse in Kentucky who had ties to the United Kingdom. “Never Say Die is inspired by the legendary racehorse of the same name who was born on co-founder Pat Madden's family farm in Kentucky. Never Say Die was revived as a sickly newborn foal by a lucky shot of whiskey; just three years later, in 1954, he went on to become the first American-born horse to win the Derby at Epsom in 70 years, in front of a 250,000-strong crowd that included Queen Elizabeth II and Winston Churchill."

The bottle in review is designated the American Colt Edition and has the serial number NSDUS00002478.


The bourbon opens with an interesting combination of scents that produce a sweet and inviting aroma. Noticeable scents of orange marmalade, jasmine, light vanilla, and charred oak greet you at the forefront. A slight hint of baked bread and a dash of white peppercorn lay behind these. While it’s not as deep as some may hope for, it’s a pleasing opening that will readily draw people in thanks to its inherent sweetness.


As the bourbon transitions into the palate, immediate notes of watered-down vanilla extract and slight orange rind jump to the forefront. Thankfully these weaker notes fade, revealing a bold prickly rye spice that grips your palate. Exploring further reveals a subdued oak, tobacco leaf, and a burnt caramel note. The highlight of the sip, the palate is an interesting progression of flavors that is widely different, yet not bad in comparison to how it starts.


A pop of rye spice and leather kicks off the finish. Shortly after, charred oak, light vanilla, and dashes of burnt caramel and orange rind join in. As the flavors slowly peel off and fade, a light orange sweetness and rye spice linger for this medium length finish. It’s a nice way to end the sip and is in line with the overall theme of this bourbon. It’s never dull, but it also never pushes itself to the limits that most drinkers would want it to.


Never Say Die Small Batch Bourbon isn’t breaking any new ground with what they’ve set out to accomplish, however, they’re also traveling down roads that only a few other brands before them have set off on. Let's start first with the boat portion of their journey. This is reminiscent of other ocean voyages that have become the namesake of Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea series. The time on the boat while the ocean rocks the barrels is meant to add an additional twist to the aging factor that other whiskeys don’t get exposed to. How much the short time it spends on the water actually changes its flavor profile compared to if it never went to sea is unknown, but it adds a unique twist to the aging process.

More unique, however, is that the bourbon spends approximately a year aging in the United Kingdom. While it’s no stranger to whiskey being produced in this climate, this is a first for any bourbon brand to conquer. England is known for its cooler climate, which varies drastically compared to what a standard Kentucky aged bourbon would experience after distillation. Now this isn’t the only bourbon that spends a portion of its life aging outside of the United States, as once again, Jefferson’s did something similar with their Tropics Aged in Humidity release. While both stayed in the northern hemisphere, their aging locations couldn’t be more different.

It’s impossible to determine if its time in England changed this whiskey drastically, however, the fact that it was shipped there and back almost certainly influenced the bourbon to some extent. The resulting overall bourbon is pleasant, highlighting a nice interplay between sweet and spicy, though you certainly will want more from it throughout the entire sip. Taken together, the end result of this aging experiment resulted in a bourbon with a backstory that stands out as unique from its peers.


While the bourbon may offer a unique story, the value portion is lacking. Unlike the aforementioned Jeffereson’s Tropics Aged in Humidity, the resulting sip doesn’t deliver at quite the same level. In fact, when broken down to its core, this is a non-age stated Kentucky small batch that’s selling for $70. While bourbon prices have risen over the last few years, you can still easily pick up a bottle of Elijah Craig Small Batch or Old Forester Bourbon, to name a few, for half the price. Sure, there’s a cost that is associated with transporting the bourbon to England and back, however, the resulting sip doesn’t justify the overall price being asked for Never Say Die Small Batch Bourbon.


Taking the road less traveled, Never Say Die Small Batch Bourbon produces an easy-sipping bourbon and provides an interesting story to talk about while enjoying a pour.

Never Say Die Small Batch Bourbon is a fun new entry in the bourbon space. The brand’s owners have taken clear actions to try and differentiate it from other sourced bourbons in the market via shipping and aging in England for part of the whiskey's life. I found the balance struck between its sweeter orange notes along with its rye spice and oak notes to be pleasing, yet ultimately not enough to justify what it’s currently priced at. In the end though, Never Say Die Small Batch Bourbon results in a fun story to talk about when pouring this with friends, and more importantly, it continues to push a form of geographical aging that few have focused on in the past.

The sample used for this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy its respective company. We thank them for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.
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Written By: Jordan Moskal

February 14, 2024
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