Widow Jane


Nose: This has a light corn scent, with a slight medicinal and/or alcohol angle to it. It isn’t awful, but it isn’t distinctive or overly inviting. Palate: This has never been a favorite of mine and I haven’t had it in quite some time, so this is probably one of the earlier bottles of this that came out (it states 2013 on the bottle). I will readily admit that I was a bit biased before the first sip. So…..it isn’t as bad as I remember, but I’m still not a big fan. It could be that the LONG time that this bottle has been open has improved it…..slightly. It has a decent mouthfeel, but I find this to be a bit harsh. It isn’t burning and the harshness isn’t overpowering, but for me, it was enough to put a damper on the experience. I suspect this comes from a high rye mashbill because I’m getting rye spice…..in fact, a little too much rye spice. It overpowers whatever other flavors may be lurking around. After some additional dedicated sipping, I think I picked up on caramel, molasses and burnt (or maybe toasted)…..something. This has a moderately long finish and leaves a very lingering aftertaste that I find to be too bitter and didn’t like very much. (If you’re going to have an aftertaste, it should make you want to have more!) There’s a punch of alcohol that hits you at the end of the finish. This is 91 proof. The label states this is “aged 7 years in American Oak” and “bottled” in Brooklyn, NY. Yes, Brookllyn. This is supposedly sourced from Kentucky and shipped to NY, but there seems to be disagreement on the Internet, which also states it is sourced from MGP in Indiana. (It is a bit confusing, because it could be that very early juice came from KY and then they switched to IN.) The company originally claimed that it is then cut with water from the Widow Jane Mine in the Catskill Mountains of New York, that is reportedly filtered through the natural limestone in the mine. Those who enjoy Kentucky made bourbon probably already know that one of the reasons it is considered the best of the best is because the water used by most KY distillers is naturally filtered through Kentucky limestone. So…you would THINK that Widow Jane should be pretty good AND it SOUNDS like a great story. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I suspect it is because the sourced bourbon wasn’t that great to begin with. And, if that wasn’t enough…..again, there are claims out there that not only doesn’t the juice not come from KY, but that the water doesn’t come from the mine either. I won’t go into the whole story here, but it appears that the company who makes this product may just be using water from the same aquifier as the mine and just gaining benefit from the use of the name of the mine….without any compensation to the actual mine. Here’s a link to an interesting blog, in case you are interested…. https://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2014/09/wherein-we-mine-more-facts-about-widow.html. Additional research on the company website shows the following very interesting wording (which is after a long history of the mine)…..”In a sealed section of a nearby mine’s caverns, not far from the Widow Jane Mine, we regularly harvest water and use it to proof all of our whiskeys.” So….. a little too sneaky for my taste. If you are going to make “craft” whiskey, just be up front about what your are doing. OK…..the last nail in the coffin. This stuff ain’t cheap. I think even back when I bought it, is was in the $60 range. This is WAY too much for this. If it was in the low $30 range, I could probably excuse many of its faults. I’m willing to concede that maybe after several years, they have their business figured out and MAYBE they are sourcing good whiskey and doing good things with it….but, quite frankly, both their whiskey and their dishonesty have left a bad taste in my mouth, so I won’t be paying any more for their product. If someone gives me a gratis taste of one of the many products they now have (e.g. a 12, 13 and 14 year old), I won’t turn it down, out of curiosity, but in that price range I can find LOTS of other good choices on which to spend my money. (Oh…..and I’m not a big fan of the plain label either……)