Great Jones Distilling Co. x The Basquait Estate Distillery Exclusive Bourbon

Today I bring to you a review featuring bourbon from an unlikely, although burgeoning, whiskey region: New York.  Sporting a tagline of ‘Whiskey is back in Manhattan’ on the Great Jones website, you’ll see that Manhattan’s first distillery since prohibition is doing their best to get New York-made whiskey out there to the public.  Let’s take a look at this brand and see how the first new release they have rolled out in two years stacks up.


John H.




September 22nd, 2023

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When I say the word bourbon what immediately comes to mind?  New York, right?  No I suppose not.  Then again, that’s exactly what makes products like this one so fun to dive into.  While New York isn’t where most folks turn to for great bourbon, it’s certainly a place where one could expect to find great restaurants, entertainment, and art.  Coincidentally, Great Jones Distilling Co. is crafting all of those things into their experience.

From VIP Tours of Manhattan’s only distillery, to fine dining, and right down to cocktail classes, Great Jones Distilling Co. really seems to be alive with action.  Some of that action is underlined by the bar takeover of Jean-Michel Basquiat, a Brooklyn born artist who’s legacy is continued via his estate.

If you’re interested in distillation, dining, or just having one hell of an experience it seems as thought the Basquiat Bar is a place where you could get a lot of living done in a little time.  In checking out the website for Great Jones Distilling Co. we see a host of experiences to choose from and here is what the brand has to say:

Paying homage to Basquiat and his incredible legacy on Great Jones Street with bespoke food and cocktails, inspired by New York in the 80’s.

So now onto the whiskey.  As shown in the images within this post, it’s clear that design and making an impression with both the glass bottle and the labels was a top priority.  While I think this can be great, it can also at times confuse consumers.  The first thing that stood out to me with the distillery exclusive’s glimmering gold label is that it doesn’t actually tell you what is in the bottle.  While the information is all present on the back label, I’m curious if the art and style of the label could have also included the fact that this was bourbon.

As something of an experiment I showed this bottle to a few friends and family to have them give their thoughts.  Unsurprisingly the first impressions were all positive and had folks very interested in picking up the brown glass bottle to inspect it; however, the most common follow-up was to ask me what was in the bottle.  Not the end of the world, just a point I wanted to mention as it could be perceived as confusing.

Now let’s talk a bit about the liquid before we dive into the tasting notes and scoring.  This is a 7 year bourbon that’s finished in Pineau de Charentes wine casks.  Great Jones is growing, aging, and distilling their own products and I think that’s absolutely commendable.  I have a lot of respect for brands who really appreciate whiskey and where it comes from, and when they are proud of what they’re making.  Great Jones certainly seems to have that box checked.  But how does it taste?  Let’s get into it!

Tasting Notes…

Nose – Sweet caramel and a dash of oak mix with an almost (but not quite) floral layer and definitely some fruity wine as well.

Taste – Rolls nicely across the palate with an initial wave of caramel and brown sugar.  Sweet cornbread works in here a bit with jam and definitely tickles the sweet tooth in a nice way.

Finish – The finish is medium and evolves from a sweeter bit of fruit and jam into a finish that brings in big tannin notes and grape skin.

Bourbon Finder Grade: C

Final thoughts…

All in all I’d have to say I think there’s promise in this whiskey, but in this case the wine finish takes over the tasting experience in a negative way; however, and somewhat paradoxically, as a component in a cocktail the Great Jones x Basquiat shines brightly.  If you’re in the mood for an old fashioned or even a Manhattan, this is a nice way to go as that extra maturation elevates the whiskey just right.

If you’ve seen Weekly Whiskey on YouTube, you know Jay and I have always said good ingredients make good cocktails.  I’d love to try this whiskey without the wine finish, or to even see this same product with just a bit less time in the wine cask.  This is by no means a slouch.

I find myself curious about the brand and the rest of their portfolio.  They are using local ingredients and have liquid that certainly brings enough age to pique the curiosity of the enthusiast crowd.  If I track down anything else from Great Jones I’ll be sure to add it to the review list to share with you.  Cheers!

Be sure to subscribe to the Whiskey Raiders Podcast to hear Jay and myself sip whiskey (and more) and share our first impressions, tasting notes, and perspectives.

The Bourbon Finder & Weekly Whiskey thanks Great Jones Distilling Co. for graciously providing us a sample of their product and the images used in this post. Being able to try new things in the whiskey space, without strings attached, is an opportunity we greatly appreciate. Per our review ethos, we provide objective reviews and commentary on media samples of spirits and products; remember, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!

Our grading system: As mentioned in our About Us page, we’re excited to share bourbon with our friends, family, and readers. There are enough critics, cynics, and curmudgeons in the whiskey world as it is, so our goal is to foster the bourbon community in a positive way by bringing fun and entertaining content whenever possible–as such–we decided that applying precise scores to whiskey was simply too serious for us (and didn’t accurately showcase variability in taste from day to day). We use a simple grade school system to apply a grade to the whiskeys we review because we feel it is indicative of the whiskey’s grade for us on that particular day. A grade of a “B” today may very well be a “B+” or even a “B-” on another day, so rather than focusing on a precise score today that may not stand the test of time, we are just sharing our overall grade of that pour for that one tasting. Pour a bit and enjoy, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!

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