By Richard Thomas
As the story goes, Lovell Brothers is the product of a reformed Georgia moonshiner. Founder Carlos Lovell, now well in his 80s, reportedly started in the family ‘shining business at the age of 16. In 2012, Mr. Lovell started Ivy Mountain Distillery, and they have two products out: an aged and an unaged corn whiskey. Confusingly, both products are called “Sour Mash,” with the aged version referred to as “Sour Mash Whiskey.”
It used to be that if you wanted to taste an American whiskey aged in old wood, you had to go buy Early Times. Now more and more offerings are partly or wholly aged in old wood. Lovell Brothers Sour Mash Whiskey is part of that growing line of American whiskeys aged in used barrels, in this case ex-Jack Daniels barrels. The whiskey is bottled at 43% ABV.
How long the corn whiskey spent in that Lynchburg wood is unknown, but it musn’t have been too long. In the bottle, the whiskey has a light copper coloring, but in the glass this fades to the point of white wine pale yellow. The legs are surprisingly viscous.
The nose is a mix of two strong scents: corn husk and dry wood. It’s very much down on the farm, in fact, akin to a few tons of corn tied up to dry on the side of a very old barn, buttressed every so lightly by a modest note of caramel.
The palate, however, couldn’t be more different. Vanilla and cake spices predominate, standing tall on a candy corn foundation. Woodiness is wholly absent. A light coating of the mouth sustains these flavors long into the finish, but the swallow is quite hot so you won’t notice that at first.
Where Lovell Brothers Sour Mash Whiskey is a real winner is the price tag. For an aged, micro-distillery corn whiskey of this type one expects to pay a few pretty pennies. This stuff is priced at a more reasonable $25 or so.