Cedar Ridge Barrel Proof Bourbon

Cedar Ridge Barrel Proof Bourbon (Photo by the brand)

It’s not often I have the honor of being the first (as far as I can see) reviewer of a whiskey, but that’s just what occurred with this new release Bourbon from Cedar Ridge Distillery! It arrived less than an hour ago (many thanks to Laura and the team), and I couldn’t wait to share my first impressions!

For those unfamiliar with Cedar Ridge, they’re Iowa’s oldest distillery, producing a wide range of products, including brandy, rum, vodka, gin, and of course, whiskey. Under the ownership of the Quint family, they’ve made wise use of their time and experience as a farm, a winery, and of course, a distillery, resulting in a continuous refinement of their offerings- this Small Batch Bourbon is no exception.

As those of you who follow me know, I’m a die-hard malt whiskey fan (American Single Malts, Irish, and Scotch, primarily), so I’m hard to please when it comes to good-ole fashioned corn likker- and I definitely like this one. The whiskey pours a deep, dark (gorgeous) amber. The aroma explodes with orchard fruits, especially fresh apples, backed by notes of caramel, field corn, cinnamon, and nutmeg, with hints of baked cherries and oak. At 58% ABV, it’s expectedly hot on the tongue but doesn’t overpower the flavors. The mouthfeel is full and round, and the fresh apple flavors carry forward throughout the taste. A dash of quality water softens the heat, releasing more spice notes, additional “bourbon cherry” flavors, and more fresh apples, plus hints of ripe pears, muddled mint leaves, coffee candy, and oak. The overall sense of the whiskey is somewhat sweet but also fruity. And although the finish isn’t particularly long, the apple notes and hints of fresh corn linger well past the swallow.

All in all, this is a nice bourbon- a little young but surprisingly well-integrated and easy to drink. I’m not sure that it rises to “collectible” stature, but given its price point (it retails for $39.99), it makes for an ideal “daily drinker” bourbon. More importantly, it adds another quality arrow to Cedar Ridge’s formidable quiver! If you want to learn about their American Single Malt (my favorite), please check out my review here!

Editor’s Note: Like most other Cedar Ridge whiskeys, the bottle is “batch” numbered- mine is marked “Batch No. 0001.”