By Jake Emen
Bat Masterson was omnipresent in the American Wild West, playing all the archetypal roles you’d expect – gunslinger and hunter, lawman and gambler. So it’s fitting that his name and face adorns a lineup of several different whiskeys from 35 Maple Street. Despite the company’s Sonoma, California routes, they’re the bottler, and their grain is Canadian. That means their whiskey gets classified as such.
Each of the products in Masterson’s Whiskey lineup includes a vintage newspaper clipping style label, with a picture of Masterson, at one stage of his life or another. Here, we find him as a young man with a bowler hat and a mustache which would put Ron Burgundy to shame.
Masterson’s Barley Whiskey is sourced with Canadian barley. It’s double distilled, and aged in white oak casks for 10 years. It’s then bottled at 92 proof (46% ABV).
Pour a dram, and Masterson’s Barley Whiskey has a copper hue in the glass. Take a whiff, and notice an earthy, grainy scent, with a touch of nuttiness and a faint sweetness. On the palate, Masterson’s Barley has a robust flavor profile, lots of oak and grain with a small touch of a lighter, a hint fruitiness as well, followed by a sharp, hot and long finish, filled with strong notes of grain. With ice, Masterson’s Barley becomes lighter, but sharper and grainier as well, and altogether a bit tougher.
Masterson’s Rye is an award-winning whiskey, and Masterson’s Wheat is a very enjoyable new standout as well. But surely, even Bat Masterson himself couldn’t have been a master of all trades. Perhaps he was a great lawman and sports writer, but his hunting and gambling skills lagged behind. Or vice-versa. I believe that to be the case here, as Masterson’s Barley is a step behind the rest of its family.
Masterson’s Barley Whiskey has a fairly limited production and distribution. You can find it online for about $60, give or take a few bucks. That’s a serious price tag. After all, think about the 10 year old Scotches or top shelf bourbons you could purchase for $50. Considering I don’t believe it lives up to the rest of the Masterson lineup, it’s a hard sell.