Belle Meade Bourbon
By: Fork & Stave
Proof: 90.4 Proof (45.2% ABV)
I saw this bourbon for the first time when visiting some friends in Nashville this past Spring. When I returned home to Birmingham, I saw that it was also available in my local liquor store. Belle Meade Bourbon is the culmination of the efforts of Charlie and Andy Nelson, two young entrepreneurs. Their great-great-great grandfather Charles Nelson ran the Green Brier Distillery near Nashville before prohibition. Nelson’s Green Brier Belle Meade Bourbon is based on the original recipe, complete with a high rye content mashbill that gives it unique flavors from other bourbons. The bourbon is aged for a minimum of six years and is made from a mashbill of 64% corn, 30% rye, and 6% malted barley. The brothers have even adapted the original label, penned by the same artist that worked on the dollar bill, for their first offering. I love this short excerpt on the Belle Meade label from their Caskers interview: “Each bottle of Belle Meade Bourbon is adorned with a vintage label that includes the portrait of two horses whose origins can be traced back to the original Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville. The horse on the right, known as Bonnie Scotland, was one of Belle Meade’s leading sires and was an ancestor to Man O’ War, Seabiscuit and Secretariat. The horse on the left, who was known as Brown Dick, was the descendent of a horse simply named Whiskey. “He’s the reason we removed their names from the label,” says Andy, pointing to the horse on the left.”
The company hopes to be distilling their product in Nashville by the end of the year and plans to use multiple mashbills. After that, we will all have to wait on nature to run her course before we can enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Tasting Notes: After letting it breathe for 10 minutes, I tasted this bourbon neat.
Nose: Delicious and sweet from the start, the nose carries flavors of sweet caramel and molasses. There are hints of vanilla, toffee, and a little spice from the rye.
First Sip: The first taste explodes with vanilla, cream soda, and fruit flavors. There are oak undertones and more spicy rye.
Mouth Feel: The spirit is soft and light with a sweet background.
Finish: The bourbon is delightfully smooth. There are some tannic notes from the oak and a nice cinnamon aftertaste.
Summary: The bottle in my picture is a dead giveaway that I really enjoyed this bourbon. It’s easily one of my favorites of 2013. As of this review, I’ve seen the bourbon range a fair amount in price, depending on location. If you can find it for less than $40 a bottle, you’re doing great. Depending on the price, you may decide to keep this for special occasions. I had a hard time leaving my bottle alone. The smell of this bourbon is wonderful. It’s great neat or on the rocks. The ice will really make the vanilla flavors pop. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. You can follow what’s going on with Belle Meade at Green Brier’s twitter page or on Facebook.