Whiskey here (finally!). A Harvest Host visit to a distillery is naturally more attractive to me than a winery. The Weldon Mills Distillery is on the Roanoke River in Weldon, NC at the site of an ancient textile mill and a newer distillery building, a park and boat ramp separating the two.
We didn’t see any “boat ramp champs”, but we sipped some good whiskey.
Bruce Tyler, one of the founders of WMD, is a veteran and was our tour guide. He loves wheated bourbon. I do not. That said, I do respect a good whiskey, whether it is my particular cup of tea or not. Bruce, and master distiller Mike Norman make good whiskey.
If you are not familiar with what I mean by, “wheated” bourbon, there are grains that are basically cooked in a mash that the distiller calls the “beer”. The selection and mixture of the grains is called the mash bill. In order to be labeled as a Bourbon Whiskey, the mash bill must contain at least 51% corn, and mostly, rye and malted barley are the other two grains. A wheated bourbon usually drops the rye in favor of wheat. The most well-known wheated bourbon is Maker’s Mark and the most famous wheated bourbon is all of the Pappy Van Winkle labels.
Here are the tuns and the still.
So what about the taste? If you like Jack Daniel’s (and who doesn’t?) you know that Jack is a sweet Tennessee whiskey, according to the song, and if you like Wild Turkey labels and/or Woodford Reserve, (and who doesn’t?) you might recognize those as straight up the lane Kentucky bourbon whiskeys – in fact it says it on the label. Substituting wheat for rye and/or using wheat as a distilling grain rather than a flavoring grain like WMD does takes away the sweetness. I think a wheated bourbon is like smelling a rose compared with drinking a glass of sweet tea. It’s different. Current offerings are three bourbons, numerous flavored whiskeys, gin and vodka. The three bourbons are copy/paste descriptions below from the distillery web site: Soldier’s Cut Bourbon Whiskey Gold Medal Winner at both the 2020 SIP International Spirit Awards and the 2020 MicroLiquor Spirit Awards. This bourbon is a smooth and flavorful bourbon that is great neat or in high end cocktails. This bourbon has great flavor and mouthfeel, because we do not chill filter out those delicious fatty acids, esters, proteins, and tannins. We make this bourbon the way it’s supposed to be made, by cutting out all the acetone so your bourbon and cocktails don’t smell or taste like nail polish remover. This bourbon raises funds for Gold Star Families. The All Malt Bourbon Whiskey This Limited Production Ultra-Premium Barrel Proof Bourbon Whiskey has no equal. The All Malt is the only bourbon in America made with all malted grains. The complexity and depth of flavor is unmatched. If you love bourbon, you will not want to miss the release of The All Malt! Weldon Mills Reserve Bourbon Whiskey Double Gold Medal Winner (Top Honors) at the 2021 San Diego Wine and Spirits Challenge! This premium barrel proof bourbon holds its own next to the best bourbons in the country. Although this is a high proof bourbon, it drinks as smooth as a lower proof bourbon. The flavors hit hard in this bourbon and there is not acetone! This is a bourbon drinkers’ bourbon and will not disappoint. I liked the Weldon Mills Reserve Bourbon and bought a bottle – bottle #116 from batch 16 at 110 proof. Why did I buy a bottle of bourbon I don’t like? I have friends who like wheated bourbon. The first thing you notice on the nose is that it has no alcohol burn you might expect from a whiskey at that proof. It’s dry and has a comfortable mouthfeel – it doesn’t leave the bottom of your tongue numb if you roll it around a bit like most at 110 proof would. It has a complex finish and kind of makes me want to smoke a cigar, which I don’t do. So grab a bottle of Weldon Mills Reserve Barrel Proof Bourbon Whiskey and your favorite cigar, and enjoy!
This bottle will be available in the Barn Lounge for tastings beginning in May.