First Call Break Maiden Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Port Wine Casks 45% 75cl
I.J.W. Whiskey is a producer that has fallen somewhat under the radar - but this is a deliberate move by the company to allow them to focus on building a portfolio of brands and ensuring top quality throughout. Laying down barrels since 2017, the company sources their spirit from 5 distilleries around Kentucky as opposed to distilling their own - although the spirit is made under contract to distinct specifications the team require. Those distilleries are kept secret but there are strong indications that both Bardstown and Wilderness Trail are involved in some form. Kevin Curtis, previously Master Distiller at the likes of Woodford Reserve, Michter's and Angel's Envy, along with master blender Steve Hughes - who spent 35 years with Four Roses - also ensure plenty of experience and integrity go into every release.
First Call is one of the brands produced by IJW - in keeping with the close links between Kentucky and horseracing, the name refers to the original bugle call for horses in a race to head to the starting post, and 'Break Maiden' is a term used when a horse wins his or her first race.
Kevin Curtis probably had a big hand in this particular release, given Angel's Envy is so well known for it's Port finished Bourbon. Break Maiden isn't quite as intense - the mashbill is corn, rye and barley but it's not disclosed as to the proportion. I'm willing to bet it's heavy on the corn though, as there's sweet black cherry and salted toffee throughout the palate. This is super easy-drinking, with the Port influence bringing soft red fruits to the fore. However there's a nice hit of white pepper and cherry stones on the finish, which stops the whiskey becoming flat. It'll get a little lost in cocktails but if you want a snifter before bed it will certainly do the trick - if ice is your thing it'll work well over a cube too!
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