J. W. Kelly & Co. - Old Milford Straight Bourbon


Nose: The nose on this starts out with a very medicinal smell that also has a hint of moonshineyness to it. Despite the darker than usual color, the nose immediately leaves the impression that this is going to be a young bourbon. Palate: True to its nose, the first sip of this comes across as youthful, with a good dose of moonshine or corn liquor coming through. It has a bit of roughness to it, even though there’s not a terribly large amount of heat. The heat that is felt is a bit on the harsh side but it is more “bitey” than unmanageable. Later sips are just about the same with the predominant flavor being moonshine. The mouthfeel is on the light side and the finish is about medium length. It leaves an unusual burnt “something” aftertaste in your mouth. Comments: I’m not a big fan. I don’t hate it, per se, but it isn’t what I like in a bourbon. I will say that it is better than straight up moonshine, so if you like moonshine AND bourbon, maybe this will be your cup of tea. Based on information on the bottle’s back, this is a “revival” of a brand name that existed pre-Prohibition. J.W. Kelly & Co started in Chattanooga, TN in 1866 and the label states that this product is “Bottled in Chattanooga”. It is 94 proof. Total Wine lists it at $34. Interestingly, I found a website for a store in Cincinnati that had it marked down to $20. Although information about this on the Internet was scarce, I found one source that states the mashbill is 75% corn, 20% malted rye and 5 % barley. An examination of the company’s website was interesting. The website states that this is a blend of 5, 6 and 8 year old bourbon. If true, I’d say that either the folks picking the barrels are not very skilled or whomever they are sourcing from is foisting barrels on them that aren’t worthy of bottling. I still have a very hard believing the supposed ages on this. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a straight 5 year old that tasted this young, never mind a blend of 5/6/8. The website lists a host of flavors you are supposed to get, but quite honestly, I don’t think I got any of them. I hate to leave on a negative note, so I will say that I really like their bottle. It is an old-school almost “lady leg” style bottle and their logo is printed in a very cool vintage font.