By April Manning
Although it’s true that over 90% of bourbon comes from Kentucky, it seems that Indiana is starting to get into the spirit(s) of things. Bear Wallow Distillery is one of the first craft, family-owned distilleries to open Indiana, and they have kept up the historic moonshining tradition of Brown County by opening the county’s first legal distillery there in 2012. They bring to us Gnaw Bone Bourbon, named for the small Indiana town the distillery is located in.
They use limestone-filtered water (Indiana has that too) that, as bourbon connoisseurs know, is pretty important to the creation of bourbon. Indiana land is rich with limestone and it’s considered by some to be of the highest quality in the world. The calcium-rich limestone beneath the soil and in stream beds removes any traces of iron in the water, which would otherwise have an effect on the finished spirit’s taste and color. Gnaw Bone also uses 100% Indiana corn, wheat and malted barley to ensure their neighbors are able to reap the benefits that are part of this spirited industry.
Batch #2, Bottle 266 was used for this review. This small batch bourbon is barrel aged for 1 to 2 years, and bottled at barrel strength of 100 proof (50% ABV). Gnaw Bone Bourbon is non-chilled filtered, so that you get to experience its full flavor. More distilleries are realizing the benefit of skipping the chill-filtering step, since it removes many of the elements that contribute to the flavor of the bourbon.
Gnaw Bone Bourbon has a nose that tantalizes with its rich hints of vanilla. The Indiana corn comes through in a big way, reminiscent of driving among the corn fields. There is a hint of earthy, tart apple flavor that blends well with the notes of vanilla, caramel and oak. This is a mild 100 proof bourbon which provides a smooth finish with a slow burn, not an over powering alcohol burn.
The distillery is in its infancy and I am curious to see what the bourbons will be like when they have had more years to age. Gnaw Bone Bourbon is a great start, but it can only get better soaking up all that oak barrel goodness.
$29.99 for a half-sized, 375 ml bottle.