Capn Jimbo's Rum Project
For better or worse, American whiskey is dominated by bourbon from Ky or Tenn. Although corn based, its really about half corn with the real flavor coming from wheat, rye and malted barley - a mish mosh of flavors, not to mention the strong effects of NEW CHARRED oak, accelerated over 2 years, which then are later mellowed by further aging.
But straight corn whiskey is not bourbon, and especially not this one. Mellow Corn is 90% corn and is really quite a different genre. Just like armagnac is not cognac, and rye is not bourbon, is not single malt - a straight corn whiskey is yet another genre that stands on its own.
While bourbon depends on factors other than corn and highlights those elements, a straight corn whiskey is meant to emphasize corn, not rye. Furthermore this one is truly special in that it is bottled in bond. Thus it is aged at close to 62% and bottled at 100 proof and get this - in good USED oak - all by law. This is a rather slow and careful process and those two extra years in used oak insures that the corn, not the wood, will be emphasized.
Thus this one is remarkable. The opening nose is a sweet corn over a light spicy background, bit of vanillan, but the palate opens oily smooth and warm with the spices and heat emerging and carrying to a wonderful finish that appears to be black pepper, cinnamon and clove, but which is really white pepper in corn disguise. Brilliant, really and deceptively simple.
A caveat: I would remind our hairy chested friends that this is a 100 proof spirit. This means it demands a good airing, and a teaspoon or two of distilled water, like any high proof single malt. Remember too, that no spirit will be truly understood until you get down to the shoulders of the bottle.
At our website - Capn Jimbo's Rum Project - we expected little from a spirit that was sold next to moonshine, and accordingly was bought and reviewed as a giggle. We had no idea how good Mellow Corn would be. The sad truth: true corn whiskey once dominated distilling, but that ended long ago with the growth and current dominance of Amercian Bourbon. If straigh corn whiskies were back in commercial favor, this one would easily sell for $35.
At $10 to $12 we not only rated it an "8", or 4 stars, it was a no-brainer, Best Buy. Boys and girls, its time to open up your bourbon soaked minds enough to learn and to appreciate the genre of straight corn whiskey, of which this a terrific example.
20th July 2014