Nose: Very light and slightly medicinal. I got a little bit of corn, but not much else. Palate: The color is light and the first sip confirmed that there isn’t a ton of complexity or heaviness to this one. It isn’t harsh and doesn’t burn, and has a little warming, especially on the finish, but the finish is short so the warmth doesn’t last very long. This is not especially sweet, but I only get a little bit of rye spiciness. I like it, but there isn’t anything particularly exciting going on with it. It is a perfectly serviceable bourbon, but there’s nothing particularly noteworthy. I doubt many would dislike it, but likewise, I doubt anyone would be so thrilled that they would go out of their way to get it. It isn’t complicated, but you gives you the satisfaction of knowing that you are drinking bourbon. Bottom line: basic, middle of the road bourbon. Comments: Well, you don’t get more Cowboy than the Duke! Newer versions of this no longer have THE Duke on the label and there was some stink a while back from Duke University about this infringing on their name, but it is still being sold, so I suppose they resolved it. The new label makes it look a little more “expensive” but I really miss seeing THE Duke on the label. This clocks in at 88 proof and the recipe is supposedly said to replicate John Wayne’s favorites from his private collection. (One should probably assume THE Duke knew what he was taking about, as he was known as quite the whiskey imbiber, AND he actually kept tasting notes, that were discovered by his son and used to come up with this recipe) The mash bill is reported to be 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% barley. The folks that put this out are in KY but they don’t distill, so this is sourced. Where from? I couldn’t find anyone who would hazard a guess. While some places advertise this in the low $30 range, Total Wine sells it for $45. Not a price at which I’d be gungho to recommend it. If you could get it for low $30’s or less, it wouldn’t be awful to have, but less so, now that the label doesn’t show THE Duke on it.
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