“They’ve got something called ‘J.W. Kelly’ – it’s a single barrel. Ya interested?”
I wasn’t sure how to answer this question when I saw the text message pop up on my phone. It was our co-founder, Justin. He was at a liquor store about 45 minutes away doing his usual bottle hunting. I thought for a minute and responded.
“How much?” I asked.
“$55” he replied. “Just talked to the shop owner. He says it’s really good.”
‘What the hell, why not’ I thought. Sure, it was a bit of a gamble but the liquor store owner who had recommended it really did know his whiskey. So I took a gamble.
“Yeah, might as well grab it. 🤷♂️ Thanks bud” I replied.
Then the bottle just kinda sat awhile; I didn’t immediately open it since I wasn’t particularly excited for it, and truth be told, I was a bit worried it might have been a waste of money.
I knew nothing of J.W. Kelly or the bottles it produced at the time. But being the Bourbon Nerd I am, I made sure to satisfy my curiosity by researching them online. Here’s what we can expect from this bottle, according to their website:
“Also born and raised in the scenic city of Chattanooga TN, J.W. Kelly’s original Single Barrel Bourbon was bottled at cask strength, creating a handmade style with its own unique flavors.
Reborn in 2016, this unique single barrel, coming in at 109 proof, is hand bottled and double oaked. Every barrel is selected from barrels 5-8 years old. Once the barrel has been selected it is then transferred into a new American oak barrel and aged for another 8-12 months.
Every barrel will be different and have its own personality. That’s the benefit of a single barrel, amazing taste, flavors and an amazing surprise with every glass.”
Being a huge fan of ‘double oaked’ expressions, I immediately perked up (or my taste buds did, for that matter). While 5-8 years of aging isn’t anything particularly impressive , the added 8-12 months in another barrel should give it more character.
After taking a look at these data points, I was ready to dig in.