GSN Review: Black Button Port Finished Barrel Strength Single Barrel Straight Bourbon

fb90bfba-858f-4568-aab3-d72aee87243eFounded in 2012 and housed in a 5,000-square-foot space near Rochester’s historic Public Market, Black Button Distilling is the first grain-to-glass craft distillery in Rochester, NY since prohibition. Black Button Distilling specializes in farm to still products, using unique and all-natural ingredients from local farms to craft 1,450 bottles of award-winning spirits each week, distributed in 12 states.

They recently released their latest expression which has aged for a minimum of two years in white oak and then another year in a freshly harvested port cask from Port of NY Winery in Ithaca, NY.

“Our Port Finished Barrel Strength Single Barrel Straight Bourbon is the finest reflection of what it means for us to live large in small batches,” said Jason Barrett, Black Button Distilling President/Head Distiller. “This spirit — made with the best local ingredients — truly represents the best of what Black Button Distilling has to offer.”

Limited release: Three hundred and twelve 375ml bottles are available at the distillery and at area liquor stores in Western New York at a SRP of $100.

Port Finished Barrel Strength Single Barrel Straight Bourbon (110.8 proof)
Visual: Orange-red copper.
Nose: Obvious fruit forward port layered on top of a denser, woody Bourbon.  Dessert-like, but also quite masculine in strength and intensity.
Taste: In spite of the near brain-melting proof, this is remarkably smooth tasted undiluted.  A lot of oak wood caresses the bourbon, but is offset by a more subtle and tempering port veneer.  With a splash of water, the port fades a bit, but the bourbon opens up and becomes more expressive.
Finish: Medium long with the corn and the port barrel playing touch tag back and forth.
Overall: Another of the unusual experiments from Black Button that works quite well.  I’d love to see this aged in the port barrel for a few more months to play off the sweetness of the corn, as well as have this more widely available in future.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Black Button Distilling

GSN Review: Black Button Barrel Reserve Citrus Forward Gin

Black Button Distilling, Rochester, NY’s first grain to glass craft distillery, recently announced the release of their Barrel Reserve Citrus Forward Gin on October 15.

This half gin, half whiskey spirit is the latest innovation available from Black Button Distilling. “Craft distilling is all about innovation and trying something new. First we lowered the juniper and added a lot more orange peel to craft our citrus forward gin. Then we took that gin, threw it in some used bourbon barrels and let it rest for a year on oak. Now we have this delightful limited release spirit that is the best of both worlds,” said Jason Barrett, President/Head Distiller.

You can read about my recent visit to the distillery here.

Barrel Reserve Citrus Forward Gin (84 proof)
Visual: Mild gold.
Nose: Juniper forward, but tempered by orange and lemon citrus overlaid with an unusual vanilla/char funk.  Not a Genever, nor an Old Tom style nose, but a scent that is totally unique like an exotic flower.
Taste: A powerhouse of bright citrusy gin encloaked with a darker and more woody, slight smokiness.  That leaves a vast playing field of mid-range space to work its magic.
Finish: The orange citrus goes on and on with the more botanical edge fading fairly quickly.
Overall: Honestly, this is almost a bottled cocktail, there is so much going on here in the interplay between botanicals, citrus and barrel. Stir with ice, strain and serve to a friend.  Have them take a few sips, and then tell them that there is no vermouth or bitters in it.  I guarantee they’ll be surprised. Another cutting edge spirit from Black Button.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Black Button Distilling

GSN Review: Black Button Distillery

black_button_distilleryWith new craft distilleries opening almost every day somewhere around the globe, I was pleased to hear of one that is located less than 100 miles from GSN headquarters.  Rochester, New York is located in the heart of New York State in the Fingerlakes region.  Black Button was started by 24-year-old, Jason Barrett whose family have been in the button making business since 1922.

The distillery utilizes locally grown corn, wheat, rye and barley for their products and ages their bourbon style whiskey in American white oak barrels.  At the time of this review, it was still aging and unavailable for tasting.

Unaged Corn Whiskey (100 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Sweet corn.
Taste: Very sweet and funky.  In spite of the high-proof, there isn’t an overabundance of heat here.  The overall impression is of roasted sweet corn with a hint of smokiness.
Finish: Medium long with lingering notes of sugar corn.
Overall: This is clearly a corn spirit and one that revels in it.  If you’re looking for a sweeter, and thus less aggressive moonshine/white dog, this fits the bill.
GSN Rating: B+

Wheat Vodka (84 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Spun sugar.
Taste: Initially sweet and cane sugar-like with a cotton candy finish, there is also a less pronounced minerality which does well to give this vodka some character and oomph.
Finish: The sweetness prevails and goes on for quite a while.
Overall: There is a lot of body to this vodka, making it more overt than many vodkas which are distilled to the point of nondescript blandness.  Still much sweeter than I’d prefer.
GSN Rating: B

Citrus Gin (84 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: A heavier and maltier character than a London Dry style, more akin to a Genever.  There is a slight hint of citrus on the nose and not a lot of juniper.
Taste: The juniper comes out to play here, adding a rich herbal depth along with a lot of bright and fresh citrus notes.  Orange, lime and lemon all want to be recognized as the lead role, but take equal billing.
Finish: Clean, refreshing and definite citrus make for a crisp ending.
Overall: A well done gin that has a lot of potential in mixing.  I like it.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Black Button Distilling