Color: medium amber
Nose: snickerdoodle cookie, cloves, cinnamon, caramel
Taste: caramel, cinnamon, toasted nuts, dried fruit
Finish: long, velvety and warm
Value: I, uh… just buy it!
Regardless of whether or not you believe the story, or the hype, I’ll start off this review of Uncle Nearest 1856 Tennessee Whiskey by saying: it’s not a bespoke Tennessee Whiskey. It’s created by a company under contract. From what I understand, the company goes through the entire process; even the Lincoln County Process after a day or two of aging. Then that spirit is aged again for another 6 or 7 years. …but this is just hearsay at this point as I haven’t seen the official word.
I’d also like to address your internal question of: “Hey! How did Eron get a bottle? That stuff is only available in Tennessee and Oregon! He lives in California!” by quoting Garth Brooks:
I’ve got friends in low places.
First, my standard “let’s not mince words” proclamation: How in the name of Jimmy Russell can a 100 proof whiskey be this smooth?
This does not make sense!
I set aside a lowball with ice and water to be ready to cut Uncle Nearest 1856 because 100 proof is just too damn hot. Well, once again gentlemen and ladies, I am wrong. Somehow, 100 proof is smooth & velvety in Uncle Nearest 1856. I am gobsmacked.
Going in for a sniff will get you snickerdoodle cookie. Not even kidding. I was expecting a nasty blast of nose burning heat, but no. Cookie, cloves, cinnamon, caramel.
Having recently complained about getting my nose hairs burnt by a 93 proof whiskey, I am happily surprised by Uncle Nearest.
Somehow, 100 proof is smooth & velvety in Uncle Nearest 1856.
The barrel notes cross your palate as caramel and toasted nuts. The expected “whiskey burn” is nearly non-present. Again: unexpected. Also in the unexpected category: dried apricots, raisins, honey, and mild herbs. These will present themselves after your third or fourth sip. So, go in for more.
The finish is long, warm, mouth filling, and velvety smooth.
As Tennessee whiskies go, Uncle Nearest 1856 is up at the top of my list. It’s knocked Leopold’s and George Dickel Barrel Select both down a notch. (Which is funny, because it’s rumored that Uncle Nearest is a George Dickel product…) It’s completed my full acceptance of Tennessee Sour Mash as a respectable & respected art form.
Regardless of whatever stories or marketing may be thrown at me, it always boils down to the product. And this is quality whiskey. No doubt.
Of course, this stuff is really hard to come by at this time. But it’s not that pricey when you are able to find it! It’s a damn sight cheaper than anything I’ve had this year in this quality range! So, let me just say:
Final Rating: 97 out of 100