Jefferson’s is one of those brands that feels like it’s been invented by someone in Corporate Marketing, rather than someone in a distillery.
The website is desperately slick, and yet manages to convey almost no information. Barely any tasting notes, a warm and fuzzy bit of history that tries to connect a young (founded in 1997) brand to 200+ years of bourbon, and some annoyingly hard-to-navigate ‘pages’.
What it doesn’t seem to tell you anywhere is who makes the damn stuff, or where.
Further digging points to the McLain & Kyne Distillers, in Kentucky. They turn out not to actually make bourbon themselves (which does raise the question of why they call themselves “distillers”), but rather they are an independent blender of other folks’ spirit.
So, the bottle says it’s from Kentucky but beyond that, your guess is probably as good as mine!
Jefferson’s Bourbon is their entry level traditional 41.2% ABV bourbon.
It has a light aroma; green apples backed by vanilla fudge, along with quite an unrefined alcohol rawness. Water knocks back the fruit notes, which sadly doesn’t leave much else to enjoy.
In the mouth it’s raw and harsh; touches of sweet green fruit that are overwhelmed by a rather unpleasant bitterness that lingers far too long. Watered it’s not much better – it’s slightly less harsh, but there’s still not a great deal of flavour going on and it’s still dominated by a harsh, bitter finish.
Looking around on the web, reviews seem to swing wildly from top marks to bottom. It’s possible that this is one of those ‘love it or hate it’ things, but it seems more likely that the “ridiculously small batch” approach Jefferson’s makes such a deal of on their website leads to some seriously variable quality issues. 1 star.
Many thanks to Master of Malt for providing their excellent Bourbon Advent Calendar this year.