By April Manning
“… it takes backbone to lead the life you want.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
Calling Indiana bourbon drinkers!
If you aren’t wedded to the idea of bourbon being distilled in Kentucky, then I have found great straight bourbon for you. Backbone Bourbon distills small batches from a 70% corn, 25% rye, 5% malted barley mash in Lawrenceburg, Indiana (not to be confused with the home of Wild Turkey and Four Roses south of the Ohio, in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky), then ages them for around 4 years to be bottled at full barrel strength in Bardstown, Kentucky. There is no blending of the barrels, and as they put it they have left the “backbone” of the bourbon in. Even at such a young age, they are confident enough to release Backbone Bourbon Uncut as 114 to 117 proof (57 to 58% abv) barrel strength bourbon.
Backbone Bourbon was introduced to Indiana in 2012, and is still exclusive to the state. They are confident they will be around for a long time, and are picky about their distributors, as they should be. This bourbon is a tribute to the strength of character found in the people of the Midwest, the “Backbone of America.”
Backbone Bourbon Uncut has a nose that is a pleasant combination of citrus and earthy tones with the typical bourbon essence of vanilla. The taste is rich and creamy with an edgy bite that lingers to the warm, smooth finish, even with the higher proof.
This is particularly robust bourbon that makes surprisingly good cocktails. The best Old Fashion that I have experienced was made with Backbone Bourbon Uncut (and this is coming from the Wild Turkey bourbon devotee!). With this bourbon you get bold proof flavor without overpowering the other ingredients. It is recommended to not water down your Backbone, and instead enjoy it with a large block of ice. This is how the Old Fashioned was served, and it definitely allows you to enjoy Backbone Bourbon Uncut without unduly diluting the rich flavor.
Depending on the batch, Backbone Bourbon Uncut ranges from $45 to $55.