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  • Peter Miles

Calumet Farm Small Batch



Calumet Farm Small Batch. Blend of 15 year and 8 year old bourbon.


Calumet Farm is the main brand of Western Spirits, a non-distilling producer (NDP) based in Bowling Green KY. The source for their bourbons, based on the mash bill and other factors, appears to be the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown KY. Western Spirits also offers the ultra-premium Sam Houston limited additions.


The current ‘Calumet Farm’ brand, named after a famous racing horse farm, offers a range of higher priced bourbons aged from 8 to 16 years. I had only tried the 12 year old before and enjoyed it a lot. A classic, rich, dark and smooth pour. Then, about 2 years ago, the Calumet Farm line all but disappeared from Virginia and has only just recently reappeared, minus the 12 year old, but with a new 10 year old and a 16 year old priced at a hefty $150.


The ‘Small Batch’ blend bottle featured here comes in at around $60, about $8 more than the base 8 yr old and is a mix of 8 and 15 year old barrels. The idea for doing this is a little unclear but you must wonder if this is a way of moving some older aged stock that was not deemed worthy or did not qualify for the premium ‘Single Rack Black’ designation found on their older release whiskies.


Mash bill: 74% corn, 18% rye, 8% malted barley. (Barton 1792 standard mash bill).


Batch Size: Stated to be 50 barrels.


ABV = 43%.


Matured: A blend of eight and fifteen year old whiskies. Judging from the price point of this bottle and the color, I am guessing that this is, at best, around 20% 15 year old, with 80% 8 year old.


Cost: $60/750ml bottle.


Color: Amontillado Sherry: 0.9 (Whisky Magazine scale). Light considering the age. Yellow with a golden amber hue.


Swirl: Initially distinct rim with a lot of thin looking ‘legs’ forming quickly and flowing down the glass. Rim collapses as the whiskey falls away.


Nose: Medium strength aroma. A straightforward caramel hit is noticed first, with plenty of cereal overtones. Some mild baking spices, and a hint of orchard fruits and perhaps a touch of dry musk perfume. Just a little nose prickle, consistent with the proof. Clean throughout with no ‘faulty’ aromas or phenols. Overall pleasant and inviting.


Taste: Light and delicate. Slightly surprising profile, that takes several seconds to develop. There is something of a lime/lemon citric zing on top of a mild milky chocolate base. A subdued dark caramel note emerges and dominates as the other flavors fade away. An overall good balance. A nice warmth develops gradually, consistent with the proof. A touch of water brings out more caramel and touch of apple peel. A little different and interesting but not dramatic.


Finish: Medium/Short. Fades to rye bread with a just a hint of light wood smoke.


Verdict: An interesting, lighter whiskey that is certainly worth a try, particularly if someone else is buying.

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