Advantage After Hours Episode 2: Buzzard’s Roost Single Barrel Bourbon Review
August 24, 2023
Buzzard’s Roost is one of the hot newer bourbon brands making waves at the moment, putting out MGP sourced whiskies that they further age in new toasted barrels. In Episode 2 of Advantage After Hours, we taste and review the first ever Buzzard’s Roost single barrel in the state of Illinois.
Advantage After Hours shows what happens when four guys (and special guests) with vastly different whiskey tastes and experiences try and review a whiskey for the first time. Naturally, the result is a well-rounded review from four different perspectives, rather than just from the hardcore bourbon drinkers that you find in most reviews.
About Buzzard’s Roost
Somewhat similar to the subject of our previous video (Aaron Chepenik of Nevada H&C Distilling Co.), the founders of Buzzard’s Roost didn’t come from a long line of whiskey makers, but rather the food and beverage industry. Judy Hollis Jones and Jason Brauner first met while doing a barrel pick and decided to start Buzzard’s Roost together in 2019.
Hollis Jones spent more than 25 years in supply chain management and brand development for Yum! Brands, Wendy’s International, Fazoli’s, and her own Hollis Jones & Associates. Brauner opened the popular Louisville food and drink spot Bourbon’s Bistro in 2005 where he curated a successful single barrel program. Together, they bring a unique combination of experience and ambition to building a successful and intriguing brand.
As a non-distilling producer (NDP), Buzzard’s Roost Sipping Whiskey sources from MGP in Lawrenceburg, Ind. But they don’t stop there. What makes them unique is the custom new oak barrels they get from Independent Stave Company and fill with that sourced whiskey. They developed several different barrel profiles with varying toast levels and they use those along with time to create their core expressions. What all of that means is everything they bottle is technically double oak and toasted.
Buzzard’s Roost has several core expressions using those different barrel profiles and toast levels.
- Char #1 Bourbon – Bottled at 105 proof, their “entry-level” product began with 4-year bourbon that went into their proprietary “Char #1” barrels.
- Barrel Strength Bourbon – A blend of 4- to 6-year bourbons aged in oak barrels and bottled at 114.4 proof.
- Toasted American Oak Bourbon – A blend of 4- and 5-year old double-barreled bourbons, bottled at 105 proof.
- Toasted French Oak Bourbon – 5-year old whiskey aged in French oak barrels from the Limousin region of France, bottled at 105 proof.
- Char # 1 Rye – Using the same process as Char #1 Bourbon, the rye is blended from a few barrels of rye and bottled at 105 proof. This one won double gold at the San Fracisco Spirits Competition.
- Barrel Strength Rye – Four-year old rye bottled between 113 and 116 proof, uncut and unfiltered. Only a select few barrels meet the criteria for this.
- Toasted Barrel Rye – Starts with 3-year rye and finished in one-of-a-kind toasted barrels before bottling at 105 proof. This one also won double gold.
Buzzard’s Roost Bourbon Review – Malloy’s Single Barrel Pick
Type: Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Company: Buzzard’s Roost Sipping Whiskey
Distilled By: MGP
Age: NAS (believed to be 5-6 year)
Mash Bill: 60% corn, 36% rye, 4% malted barley
Tasted In: Glencairn
Our previous tasting was a mid-range priced bottle (Uncut the Younger from Nevada H&C Distilling Co.) so we decided to take it up a notch this time with a bottle at a higher price range than most of the guys would normally purchase. Interestingly, the Buzzard’s Roost Single Barrel began with the exact same MGP mashbill (36% high-rye bourbon) as that one. Where it differed was the age and secondary barrel finish.
The time spend in that second new white oak barrel brought out a nice oaky sweetness that wasn’t prevalent in the Uncut the Younger. The super unique aspect of this bottle is that the barrel it was finished in was a “wave stave” barrel, meaning it had grooves cut down the length of each stave. This increases the surface area exposure to the whiskey.
Justin, our most experienced whiskey drinker, found stone fruit notes on the palate, specifically raspberry or blackberry, and a nice toasty oak profile. He was very impressed with the thick, velvety mouthfeel.
Matt, who has a good base and is starting to branch out, tasted some caramel and vanilla sweetness.
Jim, who mainly sticks to Jack Daniel’s and prefers a Jack & Coke, was impressed with the heat that it possessed at 115.4 proof.
Zach, who hates whiskey, felt the burn but did note that he could tell it wasn’t a cheap bourbon.
Our special guest, Tyler the parts guy, suggested that this would be a great bottle to buy as a special occasion bottle.
With rich fruit undertones, a toasty vanilla caramel backbone, an ever-present rye spice, and a great mouthfeel, this Buzzard’s Roost single barrel is a treat. Even the non-bourbon drinker can tell its quality and the moderate bourbon drinker can see it as a special occasion bourbon, but it really finds a home with the experienced bourbon drinker. That’s where it shines because it’s unique enough to capture attention but has enough depth to keep you wanting more.
If you’re a fan of high-proof whiskey and don’t mind spending a little bit more for it, this single barrel pick from Malloy’s is definitely worth it. Unfortunately, for those outside of the Western Chicago suburbs, that means you’ll have to make the trip out here to snag a bottle if you want it or pay extra to have it shipped to you. For those who live here, enjoy this treat before it’s gone.
Related note: Malloy’s has some of the best single barrel picks in Chicgaoland. Their team has fantastic palates and they continually put out top-notch barrel picks from a wide variety of brands throughout the year. If you’re sleeping on Malloy’s, don’t.
About Advantage After Hours
In each episode, we will taste and review a different whiskey that none of us have tried before. Each of us has a vastly different experience and taste in whiskey, so rather than getting a review from only hardcore whiskey drinkers, you get four different perspectives on that same whiskey:
- Justin (The Adventurer) has hundreds of bottles. All of them are open and available to share with family and friends. He loves to try the latest releases from Chattanooga, Starlight, or Penelope more than hunting for Pappy, Weller, or Blanton’s.
- Jim (The Traditionalist) is open to trying anything, but really just likes a Jack & Coke. His favorite whiskey is the basic Jack Daniel’s.
- Matt (The Upstart) is familiar with the basics and looking to branch out to new whiskies. He loves anything from Buffalo Trace and Heaven Hill.
- Zach (The Newb) hates whiskey. If it were up to him, he would never drink it, but he’s a good sport for Advantage After Hours. His go-to drink is a tequila shot or Captain Morgan.
Our plan is to invite special guests to join us for each episode and we can’t wait to see what they think of the whiskies we taste as well.
We will also highlight a different trailer in each episode. This week’s featured trailer is a 5’x10′ custom tailgate trailer. It’s small but packed with features to make any tailgate, block party, birthday party, or other event successful. A mounted TV with satellite dish, bluetooth speakers with kareoke capabilities, mini fridge, microwave, slide-out cooler, Pit Barrel smoker, flat top griddle, portable generator, tables, chairs, and a pop-up tent are all included.
This trailer is ready to rent for tailgates at Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Notre Dame, Illinois, or Northwestern games this fall. It could even travel to Michigan or Michigan State if you need it. Give us a call today or submit a quote request.
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