By Randall H. Borkus
Widow Jane Distillery is the specialty distillery located in Red Book, Brooklyn, owned by Cacao Prieto, the maker of “beans-to-bar” fresh chocolates. Many of their expressions are sourced from other distilleries in Kentucky and maybe Indiana, but Widow Jane Distillery has their own still and are now beginning to age their own small batch whiskeys. One example of an in-house whiskey is the Widow Jane Baby Bourbon Whiskey. It is a one year old (yes, a one year old) whiskey, but one that will surprise many bourbon lovers.
My 375ml bottle is from Batch 1, Bottle 78, aged 1 year, and bottled at 45.5% ABV (91 proof). The whiskey is very dark bronze color in the bottle and in the glass, and appears thin with medium legs.
The nose sings with a natural sweetness and opens into a bouquet of heavy caramel, vanilla, and toasted nuts. The mouthfeel that is invitingly warm, if thin, and flavorful with a potpourri of more caramel, vanilla, nutmeg and lots of corn. The prevalent corn notes are what really point to the youth of the bourbon, and remind me of those “fresh off the still samples” I’ve enjoy throughout my Kentucky travels. The finish carries hints of sweet burnt vanilla, caramel candy and corn folding into honeyed floral essence. I really liked the finish, as it gave way to a distinct honey dryness that is very enjoyable yet short lived it is short lived.
Your biggest challenge is going to be where to find this juice. Widow Jane Baby Bourbon is typically offered only as part of a package collection, and those are currently running from $95 to $125.