Big Bottom Barlow Trail Blended American Whiskey – Producer: Big Bottom. Distillers: undisclosed. ABV: 45.5%. No age statement. Price: $35.
Big Bottom Barlow Trail Port-Finished Blended American Whiskey – Producer: Big Bottom. Distillers: undisclosed. ABV: 45.5%. No age statement. Price: $40.
Big Bottom Delta Rye – Producer: Big Bottom. Distillers: undisclosed. ABV: 55.5%. No age statement. Price: $40.
A few months ago I stumbled across a bottle of Big Bottom’s port-finished Barlow Trail Blended American Whiskey, and was damn glad I did. I enjoyed everything about it, and was deeply intrigued to try their Delta Rye and Blended American Whiskey. So when Big Bottom offered to send some samples, I was more than up for the opportunity.
The Oregon-based company began as an independent bottler, though it began distilling its own spirit in 2015 as well. The three bottlings of theirs I’ve tasted are all products distilled elsewhere, then blended and/or finished by Big Bottom. Their line of cask-finished straight bourbons (now discontinued) included Port, Cabernet, and Zinfandel finishes.
The standard Barlow Trail Blended Whiskey has notes of caramel and vanilla on the nose that continue through the palate. The palate adds lovely notes of oat, cereal, caramel, and toffee. I liked it, but liked the port-finished much more.
For the Port-Finished Barlow Trail, Big Bottom ages the standard release in a 10-year-old Tawny Port barrel for six months. The result has been lauded in various competitions, including a gold medal at the 2015 Great American Spirits Festival. The nose has port on the forefront, along with citrus notes. The palate is a delight: berries, chocolate, and a slightly astringent note that reminded me a touch of Laphroaig. The finish is fairly abrupt and very spicy, and leaves you wishing for more of the flavors from the palate to offset the heat of the spice.
The Delta Rye, however, is a whole different beast. It blends an Indiana straight rye and a Canadian 3-year-old rye to create something that’s very much its own whiskey. The nose has a strong, almost medicinal vanilla note, as well as a slight hit of mint. The strong vanilla continues through the palate, where it’s joined by roasted orange, the start of barbecue, and an ever-so-light honey. The finish is quite long and gets more fiery as it continues, which I quite liked.
I don’t know what the future holds for Big Bottom, but I know I’ll be following it with rapt attention. Cheers, friends! – TM
Big Bottom graciously provided samples for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.