By Richard Thomas
Found near the Mid-Western stretch of the Mississippi River, Iowa’s Mississippi River Distilling Company (MRDC) has a knack for small, limited edition runs that put a twist on their staple whiskeys. Among their more recent releases was a foray into a new trend in whiskey: sending used barrels to a brewery for use in making whiskey barrel-aged beer, and then reclaiming those barrels to put a beer barrel finish on their own whiskey.
This is what MRDC did with their Uncommon Double Barrel Bourbon. After their partners at Bent River Brewery were done making their Barrel Aged Double Uncommon Stout, MRDC got to work putting the stout finish on this bourbon for a 500-bottle, 105 proof release.
This bourbon has a light amber coloring in the glass, one that belies how viscous the liquid is. A swish gives the glass a good coat, one that drops thick, reluctant legs headed by heavy droplets.
That is suggestive of what comes out on the nose, which is earthy like a root cellar. That earthy character, coming from the stout finish no doubt, is enhanced by notes of dark, dried fruits, vanilla and oak.
The flavor moves away from the damp earth floor towards a base firmly planted in raisins and vanilla, plus some rye spice, some nuttiness, and a trace of wood. It comes back in the finish, though, to mingle with a tinge of barrel char, before winding down with moderate warmth.
I think the distillery-to-brewery-to-distillery cycle has done some nice things for the standard Cody Road Bourbon in this instance, so much so that I think MRDC should make this an annual offering. Another 500 bottles wouldn’t go amiss in 2018.
As you might be able to tell from the skinny bottle, this was a 375 ml job and it was priced at $27 a bottle.