Melted caramel | French vanilla ice cream | Mixed berries | Light oak
Light brown sugar | Amaretto | Walnut | Light cinnamon | Coriander | Medium-thick mouthfeel
Oak tannins | Leather | Spice | Simple & short with lingering heat
The company announced that their Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, which was the most awarded American whiskey or bourbon of 2019 and 2020, continues this distinction in 2021 with 198 awards. This is certainly a reason for any distillery to celebrate, though there are many ways to look at this information, and I’ll leave that up to you to decipher.
Regardless, their sourced whiskey has received a lot of attention from the award community, which makes their future all the more interesting with their latest announcement. In 2022, the Uncle Nearest brand will see a refresh, which includes new labels, but more importantly, their whiskey is now 100% distilled, aged, and bottled by Uncle Nearest. Further, their whiskey began aging in 2017, making this at least 4 years old. The change in distillate could result in a rather dramatic transformation for the brand both in appearance and taste, but also their award streak.
So how does the company’s own distillate stack up? The nose immediately falls in the classic bourbon aroma territory with a soft-medium intensity. It’s more than sufficient and while it doesn't have any surprises, it performs well enough. The palate lacks much depth or body, but the flavors are complementary with its amaretto note and medium-thick mouthfeel being its highlights. Finally, the short and simple finish is the whiskey’s biggest letdown. Overall, the whiskey is straightforward and fairly simple. It’s easy drinking, inoffensive, and completely lacks any youthful notes. While this current state of Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Whiskey is adequate, some additional time in the barrel may get it to where it needs to be.