by Consultant Bill Schwerei
A couple of weeks ago, I was visited by two good friends from Indianapolis, Indiana. They had business in Louisville and wanted to meet me to tour a few distilleries in Bardstown, Kentucky. I drove over to Bardstown to meet them but they had a late start from Indy so I had most of the morning free. I took the opportunity to drive down to Lebanon to tour Limestone Branch Distillery owned by seventh generation distillers Steve and Paul Beam. It was worth the short drive south. The Visitors Center Manager, Gina, and two of her confederates in guest services greeted me. I tagged along on a tour with a small group of folks and after seeing the small craft distillery we enjoyed a tasting of their whiskey. Limestone Branch produces 2 barrels of spirit a day. They have a few well-made items including; Yellowstone Select, Yellowstone Limited edition and Minor Case Rye. The Yellowstone Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was the first bourbon we tasted. The 93 proof offering had a rye spice and sweet caramel nose. The taste was sweet vanilla and dark caramel. The finish was oak and caramel. This is well made bourbon, very drinkable but different than many bourbons I have tried lately. Eric, the distiller I met on the tour, said they were going for a sweet, silky, spicy taste profile. They accomplished their goal.
The second bourbon we tasted was the blend of 9-12 years old bourbon blended by Steve Beam to be extra-special Kentucky Bourbon. This was the third year he has produced a Yellowstone Limited Edition. I have a bottle of the 2018, which is outstanding, and was excited to try the 2019 Edition. This bourbon is an experiment that Steve makes in very limited quantities. Each year he develops a new and different taste profile. Being a craft distillery (they use a 150 gallon copper pot still), Limestone has the flexibility to try new things. We are glad they do!
This is very well made bourbon. The blending has produced a nose that is aromatic with vanilla and oak. The taste profile is caramel, spice and oak. It is smooth and does not carry a lot of heat for a 101 proof spirit. The finish is rich with cinnamon, vanilla and wood. This is outstanding bourbon.
Limestone Branch Distillery also produces Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey in honor of their grandfather Minor Case Beam. This is an unusual rye having been finished in a sherry cask. It has a golden color and a sweet, honey and butterscotch taste after a sweet nose. It does not have the hot spiciness of your typical rye whiskey. The finish picks up the sherry that makes this a unique rye. This is well made and worth a try.