Widow Jane 10 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon Review


By Randall Borkus

Rating: B+

Widow Jane 10 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon

Widow Jane 10 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon
(Credit: Randall Borkus)

Widow Jane Distillery is a distiller and bottler out of Red Hook, Brooklyn, and owned by Cacao Prieto, the maker of “beans-to-bar” fresh chocolates. In turn, Cacao Prieto was founded by Daniel Prieto Preston, an inventor and aerospace engineer whose family heritage goes back 100 years of farming organic cacao in the Dominican Republic.  Their  expressions are largely not distilled at their distillery, but instead are sourced whiskey from other distilleries in Kentucky and maybe Indiana, with their 7 and 8 year old bourbons proving successful. Yet Widow Jane has their own still and are now beginning to age their own whisky.

The name of the whiskey comes from the Widow Jane Mine in Rosendale, NY.  This particular offering was distilled in Kentucky and shipped to New York for bottling, where it is cut with water from their namesake Widow Jane mine. The limestone water used is unusually mineral-rich which influences the flavor profile of their bourbon whiskey.

I find a lot of the stories behind the various whiskey expressions entertaining and just down right laughable in many cases (Blood Oath for example), and then failing to deliver the goods on top of that. Here, the flavor profile proved  perhaps unique and certainly enjoyable. It took me a couple of pours to fully appreciate and get a handle on the juice, but that I did, and I was only left to wonder if some of that didn’t have to do with the water they rate so highly.

The Bourbon
The bottle design is a simple one, with a white-backed label that stands out amid my shelf. It contains the barrel number, bottle number, and date all of which are hand written in red ink which adds to the look. My bottle is from barrel #1038, bottle #165 with a 2016 date at 91 proof.

The whiskey is a dark bronze color in the bottle and dark cooper brown in the glass with medium legs. The nose is sweet and inviting, with an aroma that reaches out and promises something complex to come. I pick up hints of chocolate, sweet corn, vanilla, and honey with a splash of lemon peel on the nose.

The first sip creates a mouth feel that is slightly warm, syrupy and flavorful with a potpourri of Mocha, vanilla, oak, a touch of rye spice, pepper and a noticeable floral earthiness undertone in the back of the throat. The finish reminds me of a tasty mocha chocolate with more vanilla, oak, a slight burnt sugar, rye spice, salt, all weaved together with a distinct floral essence that reminds me a little of a Four Roses experience.  Overall I really like the finish as its long with hints of lemon peel, more floral essence that gives way to an oaky mocha dryness that I really enjoy.

What’s really interesting for me is that when I first opened the bottle I was less then excited about the nose and the overall flavor experience. I opened the bottle again a few days later and I sampled a few ounces and now I’m a big fan.  This Widow Jane 10 Year Old has really blossomed for me after giving it a chance to breathe a little more deeply, so this is a whiskey that needs a little air to reach full flower.

The Price
The catch is going to be finding yourself a bottle, as it may prove difficult depending upon your location.  This is an East Coast juice for sure. I have yet to see it in the Midwest, but the good news is I travel a lot so I have sampled the 7 Year Old and 8 Year Old in New York State and Florida, and now this 10 Year Old as well.  A 750 ML bottle was $74.99 online if available.  If you find it, buy two.

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  1. OMG. What a find. Just had a small neat glass with a buddy and was so impressed with how smooth this is. I don’t want to finish it until I have another bottle on hand. Great vanilla flavor pulled with slight citrus but above all that, very palletable and smooth. Was very nice with a good cigar

    • I agree. I tried the 375 ml half bottle and was so impressed I went back and bought the 750. Although it felt slightly lighter than your average bourbon on my palate, the overall tasting experience was more like a much heavier bourbon as far as the intensity of the flavors goes. In addition to the mocha, chocolate, vanilla, and citrus, I got hints of maraschino cherries as in the Jack Daniels Holiday Select 2016, and also very pleasant hints of Christmas fruits and candies like toffee, butterbrickle, and fruitcake. Not strong, but enough to be tantalizing. The overall experience was somewhat similar to the Bibb & Tucker, another recent discovery that, if you haven’t tried it, is definitely worth your attention. If you liked the Widow Jane, I think you’ll like the Bibb & Tucker too.

  2. Drinking Widow Jane as I type… The taste is not bad at all, but is very familiar. So familiar that I googled why so many “sourced” bourbons taste the same, and the answer was disheartening.
    Maybe their own distilled version will be unique and more interesting. I will give that one a try. I will not be getting this sourced batch bottle again.

  3. Thanks to the Editors for replying. It really shows that this site is above and beyond so many others. “Sourced” bourbon is something us drinkers should be aware of. I’m not personally against sourced boubon, case in point, Angel’s Envy, is one of my new favorites, and I dig Bulleit as well. But not all “craft” sourced bourbons are equal, as you pointed out. I don’t think this particular bourbon Widow Jane is worth $75. Just my opinion. The marketing won me over, but tasting, well, the proof is in the pudding. Some folks are going to love it. I found it mediocre. I look forward to your next reviews. Everyone taste for yourselves. Cheers!

  4. This is swill. I got this as a gift and just opened it. I choked down a sip. OMFG. Swill. I’ve been drinking bourbon since the mid 1970’s. I was a Jack Daniels fan until those a-holes ruined it. But this swill is in a class of it’s own!!! You might want to use it as a carburetor cleaner, but it might damage the engine. Gaakkk. Use it to start the snowblower in the winter or the lawnmower in the spring (might void the warranty though!) Red Hook Brooklyn? Dominican Republic?? WTF does this have to do with Bourbon?? Did I mention that this is SWILL! I drink an “off the shelf” bourbon called Joshua Brook that is great! $16.00 a liter. Ya want to get fancy? Try Eagle Rare. $40.00 a liter. But this stuff is swill

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