Boondocks American Whiskey – Producer: Boondocks. Distiller: undisclosed. ABV: 47.5%. Age: 11 years. Mashbill: undisclosed (high corn, rye, malted barley). Price: $38.
Boondocks Cask Strength American Whiskey – Producer: Boondocks. Distiller: undisclosed. ABV: 63.5%. Age: 11 years. Mashbill: undisclosed (high corn, rye, malted barley). Price: $60.
One of the welcome side effects of the American craft whiskey boom is that veterans from the big distilleries can have exciting second careers consulting for start-ups or launching their own. Makers Mark veteran Dave Pickerell has done great work with Hillrock and Whistlepig. His former Makers’ colleague Steve Nally helped launch Wyoming Whiskey, which also drew on the expertise of Lincoln Henderson, previously at Angel’s Envy.
Which brings us to David Scheurich. As his Whisky Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award profile details, Scheurich got his start with Seagram’s in 1969. He worked at Wild Turkey, among other places, before moving to Brown-Forman in 1989. He launched the Labrot & Graham brand in 1994, which later became Woodford Reserve. He retired in 2011…but was lured back into business to run the Boondocks whiskey brand.
By a happy coincidence, Thane and I wound up with a chance to try Boondocks’ first releases almost simultaneously. He grabbed a bottle of the American Whiskey for his birthday just as I received samples of that and the Cask Strength direct from Boondocks.
The producers’ first offerings left us both equally pleased. They’re sourced from an undisclosed distillery, and use an unspecified “bourbon-like” mashbill of corn, rye, and malted barley. They’re aged a healthy 11 years old in refill bourbon casks–hence the designation “American whiskey” rather than bourbon, which would require maturation in new American oak. (The use of refill casks, along with several references on Boondocks’ FAQ page to “light whiskey,” made me wonder whether this is actually a light whiskey by the TTB definition, but I haven’t been able to get confirmation from company reps yet.)
They’re none the less delicious for it. The nose on the American Whiskey is pure S’mores. All the elements are there: graham crackers, marshmallow, milk chocolate, and a warm, toasty note. Delicate and robust at once. Later on, banana chips–a reminder of the Woodford-related provenance. (The actual source isn’t disclosed.) There’s sweet wood on the nose too, right between pine and oak. The palate is creamy, with honey and roasted nuts: pine and pistachio. Baklava! The finish is buttery and bright at once, without a hint of burn. Maraschino cherries toward the end.
The Cask Strength has all this, but the added strength brings out more tobacco and leather throughout. At 63.5% ABV, there’s lots of room for adding water to find your sweet spot.
Immensely drinkable whiskies from a truly distinguished industry veteran at a reasonable price. Well worth a try.
Cheers, friends! – BO & TM
Boondocks graciously provided samples for review (at the same time Thane bought his own bottle). As always, our opinions are 100% our own.