By Father John Rayls
I was cruising the “bottom-shelf” at a local liquor warehouse when I discovered a nondescript bottle of bourbon listed for under 25 bucks. The bottle appeared generic and the label did nothing to draw any attention, but I had found Lazy River Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey nonetheless. I had never heard of it. Apparently, very few others had ever heard of it either, so this bourbon is flying more under the radar than any other legal whiskey I’ve ever run across.
There is literally almost no commercial information available. This includes no website and no obvious distillery or bottler claiming ownership. Obviously, this raises some major questions. It’s listed as a Kentucky Straight Bourbon which implies at least an origin and aging process of a minimum of two years residency in Kentucky. The labeling reveals it to be bottled by the Frank-Lin Distillers Products, Ltd in Fairfield, California. Yet Frank-Lin Distillers doesn’t list it as one of their products either. It’s a mysterious orphan of a bourbon.
Lazy River Bourbon has a medium brown color with some brass/copper highlights. The color in the glass is almost identical. The legs begin with a light, short and narrow appearance. However, they continue to appear almost out of nowhere with length and a deliberate slowness of descent. The nose is immediately available for enjoyment, becoming very noticeable straight from the bottle when it is uncorked before the pour. In the glass, the aromas are semi-aggressive and are very inviting. The nose is full of light vanilla, caramel and oak on top of a big cinnamon roll.
Upon first sip, there is a soft, medium mouthfeel. It’s not syrupy, but just a very pleasant texture. This bourbon strikes a nice balance in taste at 90 proof. The action begins at the back of the tongue with some light flicks up to the roof of the mouth. However, it slowly migrates to the front of the tongue without relinquishing the rest of the mouth. It ends up involving the entire mouth before giving up any conquered territory. There are flavors of pralines, vanilla, cinnamon and light fruit before leading to a dramatic close. The finish is long and filled with baking spices embedded in multiple waves.
Lazy River Bourbon doesn’t drink hot, but the cinnamon does grab your attention. It’s a medium dry experience that begs for more. I love finding (presumably) high rye bourbons that are immensely enjoyable and completely affordable. I won’t hesitate to keep a bottle of Lazy River Bourbon on my shelf in the future. I would suggest trying this bourbon neat initially before putting it on ice. This is not a complex whiskey, but is flavorful with a spicey finish and is simply very enjoyable.
As mentioned before, this stuff went for $25 a bottle. Imagine absentmindedly finding this very drinkable bourbon hiding on the bottom shelf at $25.00!