Review: Former Woodford Reserve’s Master Distiller is Back

Boondocks

Ever had a glass of Woodford Reserve? If you have, you’ve got Dave Scheurich to thank for it.

In 1994, Scheurich was put in charge of the restoration of the Labrot & Graham Distillery, which would become Woodford, and remained there until his retirement in 2011, when he began consulting. He was awarded the Whisky Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the whiskey community the next year.

With all that under his belt, Scheurich is back, this time with a new whiskey brand, Boondocks. Made from a mash bill of corn, rye, and malt, Boondocks is aged for eleven years in American white oak barrels in Kentucky. While this all may sound like they’re making a bourbon, what distinguishes this is the fact that the barrels have previously held whiskey–not the unused barrels that are required for bourbon.

While there are two expressions that have been released, a 95-proof and a 127-proof, we’ll only be looking at the 95-proof here. Though new, the spirit’s already won a couple awards, including a Gold Medal (90 points) from the 2016 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition. It was also named a Finalist in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2016, receiving 92 Points.

Related: The Manual Guide to Whiskey Decanters

Nose:  Sweet corn and light woody notes to start. The longer you sit with it, the more it seems to open up. There are notes of spice there, and a hint of vanilla that is reminiscent of warm sugar cookies.

Palate:  Warm and sweet. Caramel corn and vanilla predominate the palate, with a roundness that comes off like marshmallows. The oak and char flavors are less intense, but still there, and they go nicely with the spice that finishes out the palate.

Finish: A medium-long finish that is sweet and allows slightly buttery flavor to melt on the palate. This is accompanied by a slight and pleasant warmth on the gums.

Final Thoughts: It’s always interesting when someone so established in the whiskey community decides to start and join a new project. There’s an almost Christmas-like excitement that comes before the product itself. How will it be like what we already know? How will it be different? How can we separate what we think of the previous product from the new one before us? In the case of Boondocks, we have a departure from the high-quality bourbons that we know and love from Woodford, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Boondocks is a solid American whiskey and it’ll be interesting to see where Scheurich et al go from here.

Boondocks American Whiskey retails for $40.