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Recently I’ve had the good luck of finding new brands that were previously unknown to me. A recent review of Luca Mariano brought some tasty whiskey that I had otherwise not known, and this week I’m sharing yet another newcomer.
Ben Holladay arrived on the scene to release their six year bottled-in-bond bourbon in a relatively quiet way–which ties into the brand’s backstory of Ben Holladay who they describe as being one of the greatest unknown figures of American History.
One of the first things I’d like to do is address the State-sized elephant in the room here. Ben Holladay Bourbon is classified as Real Missouri Bourbon under a 2019 law requiring that any whiskey labeled as Missouri bourbon meet certain criteria identifying it as a true product of Missouri in addition to meeting the federal standards for bourbon.
The exact requirements of the law are fairly straightforward: to be classified as Missouri Bourbon / Whiskey a product must be mashed, fermented, distilled, aged, and bottled in Missouri, as well as aged in oak barrels manufactured in Missouri.
One thing that tends to bite a lot of smaller distilleries is that they lean heavily into the ‘buy local’ marketing, and don’t focus enough on the quality of their product. I imagine if Ben Holladay can make a consistently delicious whiskey, they will do outstanding business in Missouri, perhaps even becoming something of a state mascot (at least in the whiskey industry).
If you haven’t seen the video review we did on Weekly Whiskey YouTube you can find it below. We dig into the details and provide a live tasting of Ben Holladay Bourbon.
In the video you see Jay mention the design of the label and how it has a classic vibe with a modern feel to it. According to the brand, the label design itself was inspired by founder and serial entrepreneur Ben Holladay, who was known as the “Stagecoach King” for his innovation of and contributions to overland stage travel.
This is what the brand has to say about Ben Holladay bourbon:
“Individual taste is influenced by where you came from and past experiences. It’s important to be intentional about how you taste, but be guided by your own perspective. Ben Holladay Bourbon is a quality, balanced bourbon that is authentic and traditional. Try it and let your palate tell the story.”
Kyle Merklein, Holladay Distillery Master Distiller
I really like the information provided by the brand. The media package they sent out includes a lot of great talking points (seen above in the YouTube video) but also shares information that the whiskey geek will enjoy.
Speaking of the level of transparency and geeky details, I really like what the label itself tells the consumer about the liquid. Due to the unique variations of each batch, the Ben Holladay Bourbon label features a blending chart to help distinguish the individual batches and allow consumers to identify the blending process used.
According to the information provided: Ben Holladay Bourbon is aged in a level three, charred, Missouri white oak barrel and is non-chill filtered. It is produced using many of our original methods including a two-grain cooker system, same distillation proofs, and barrel entry proof.
So far I am fairly impressed. Again, until this bottle landed on the review desk, I had no information about the brand or the product whatsoever. It may seem like a small point, but a brand that takes the time to provide all of the information to the reviewer (and ultimately the consumer) really stands out. Let’s see how the whiskey holds up!