By S.D. Peters
Last year I reviewed Journeyman’s W.R. Whiskey. This year I had the opportunity to taste Journeyman’s Featherbone Bourbon, which is named for the E.K. Warren Featherbone Factory, a corset and buggy-whip manufacturer that once occupied the grounds on which Journeyman Distillery now stands.
Featherbone Bourbon comes in a flat, short-necked bottle with a wax seal and a distinguished, grainy label. Like all Journeyman spirits, Featherbone Bourbon is certified organic. The mashbill offers a lot of Midwest organic corn and a little bit of everything else, which includes Michigan wheat, rye and malted barley. The whiskey is bottled at 90 Proof (45% ABV), and has a light chestnut color.
As you can see from the mashbill, there’s plenty of grain variety in Featherbone Bourbon. The bourbonesque notes of Vanilla and caramel swirl in the nose. A twist of citrus and a dash of cracked black pepper temper, courtesy of the rye, temper the sweetness.
Mostly absent in the nose, the wheat and barley dominate the texture, which is soft and malty – a nice counterbalance to the lightly peppered vanilla sweetness that percolates in the flavor. The malt eventually transcends the texture and passes into the taste. The four-grain blend all comes together in the end, like naturally-sweetened organic cereal, with the wheat adding a mild creaminess for good measure.
The finish is long and surprising. Cherry-infused tobacco and weathered leather leap out and then dissipate in a long, slow, finish that reveals caramel and… watermelon! What is most surprising is the manner in which these flavors naturally flow into and complement each other. The watermelon chaser leaves a pleasant memory.
Journeyman products are making their way across to both coasts of the U.S., but still have the bulk of their distribution in the Midwest. Prices vary between $50-70 for a 750ml bottle of Featherbone Bourbon.