By S.D. Peters
Named for Buffalo Bill Cody, a native son of the city that the Mississippi River Distilling Co. calls home (LeClaire, Iowa), Cody Road Bourbon was the first of the company’s aged whiskeys, pre-dating its Cody Road Rye by a year. This relatively young whiskey is a good companion for a mild summer evening: you can rely on it to be there if you’re looking for consistency and comfort.
Cody Road Bourbon was launched in 2011, at first in a limited run of 1 batch. Subsequent releases in 2012 (9 batches), 2013 (7 batches) and 2014 (4 batches so far), find this Bourbon further down the road. Cody Road Bourbon, like Maker’s Mark, is a wheated bourbon, with no rye grain in the mashbill. Made of 70% corn, 20% wheat, and 10% barley, the corn locally grown, it’s on the sweeter, fruitier side of bourbon’s flavor profile. The whiskey was aged for one year in 30-gallon new oak barrels, so it’s a small barrel bourbon, although not quite as small barrel as some whiskeys of this type.
Like it’s Rye brother in the Cody Road series, it comes in a wide bottle that looks nice on the shelf and shows off the whiskey’s lustrous color. It’s proof is just a little higher than the Rye’s minimum 80, however, at 86 Proof (45% ABV).
My tasting came from the Batch #1 of the 2014 series, Bottle 677 of 1,175 numbered bottles. In the bottle, Cody Road Bourbon is a deep amber that retains its hue in the glass. Vanilla and red raspberry command the nose, with lighter, grassy notes around the edges. It’s light and airy, like a spring breeze.
Cody Road Bourbon plays it straight on flavor. The raspberry leads, with a wash of grain and grass that goes down light and smooth, returning the vanilla and adding a stick of bubblegum in a moderate finish.
You may need to travel a good stretch of road to find a bottle of Cody Road Bourbon, particularly if you live on the West Coast, Northeast, or Mid-Atlantic regions — or anywhere outside the U.S — but it looks as if each annual series will put expand this on the road to a distributor near you. The average price for 750 ml. is $30-33.
Cody Road Bourbon has won the Silver Medal in the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.