Head to Head: Bourye vs. Son of Bourye

Maker: High West, Park City, Utah, USA

Distilleries: Four Roses, Barton-1792, LDI

Style: Blended whiskeys (bourbon +rye, no GNS)

1. Bouryre

2. Son of Bouryre


1. 1 (thanks Amy!)

2. 3

Age (youngest whiskey in the mix)

1. 10 y/o

2. 3 y/o


1. 92

2. 92


1. Dark copper, long, thick legs.

2. Burt orange, long, fairly thin legs.


1. Alcohol, oak, caramel, cumin, crushed red pepper.

2. Peppermint, lemongrass, tomatoes, ginger.

On the palate

1. Thick, soft mouthfeel. Creamy soft caramels, nougat, a bit of fennel, alcohol

2. A little thin. Mild, some mint and orange.


1. Hot, but fading to sweet caramel with a hint of oak.

2. Warm, but not too hot. Some light vegetal notes as it fades slowly.

Parting words

The Bourye is from a bottle I split with a friend, but  I failed to record the batch information. At any rate, the differences between these two whiskeys are pretty stark. The Bourye is well-balanced and an enjoyable sipper. It has plenty of spice, but balanced out by caramel (presumably from the bourbon) and oak (presumably from the 16 y/o rye in the mix). I have seen it on shelves recently, but in most places it has long since sold out. It was pricey, and the remaining bottles will be even pricier now, but it is very well done and there’s nothing not to like. Bourye is recommended.

Son of Bourye was really awful when I first opened it. It was like drinking tomato ketchup. It has settled down in the bottle since then, but it is still mediocre. Some apparently enjoy sour, citric notes in their bourbon. I don’t. The whiskeys in the mix are very young and it shows. The young high rye rye, overwhelms everything else. If this whiskey were $20 cheaper, it might earn a mild recommendation as a change of pace and a decent mixer. Its price, around $40, puts it into the sipper category. As a casual sipping whiskey, it fails. I find it hard to recommend Son of Bourye compared to its competition in that range such as Elijah Craig, Knob Creek, or Wild Turkey Rare Breed. Not recommended.

Redemption High Rye Bourbon

Maker: Strong Spirits Spirits Inc., Bardstown, Kentucky, USA

Distilled by: LDI, Lawrenceburg, Indiana, USA (MGP)

Age: 2+ yrs.

Proof: 92 (46% ABV)

Appearance: Shiny new penny. Fleeting, thin legs.

Nose: Alcohol, nail polish, mango, a bit of leather. Like a party at Elton John’s house.

On the palate: Soft and silky mouthfeel. More fruit, black cherry juice, Juicy Fruit gum, then a brutally hot alcohol assault. Burns everywhere, even with water.

Finish: Hot and then hot. Nothing in the way of oak, a little bit of that fruitiness but not much.

Mixed: Works well in an agressively sweetned Old Fashioned. Does ok in a bourbon and Coke, too, but doesn’t particularly distinguish itself.

Parting words: Redemption High-Rye Bourbon isn’t as bad as I remember it being the last time I opened the bottle. If that’s not faint praise I don’t know what is. This has the makings of a good bourbon, but at 2 years and a day, it’s not even close to being there yet.  If you are looking for LDI bourbon in Michigan, you can purchase Traverse City Whiskey Co. Bourbon  for $1 more. It’s  lower proof, but it’s much more rounded and although it is age stated at four years, there seems to be some fairly old whiskey in the mix. W.H. Harrison barrel proof is also better LDI bourbon, but overpriced and hard to find outside of Indiana. If you are just looking for a well-quality bourbon, Evan Williams and Very Old Barton sell for half the price of Redemption. Either way there is no good reason to seek out Redemption, the bourbon anyway. Not recommended.

W.H. Harrison Governor’s Reserve

Maker: Harrison Bourbon Co., Brazil, Indiana, USA

Distiller: LDI, Lawrenceburg, Indiana, USA

Style: High Rye Bourbon

Batch: 2

Age: <4 y/o

Proof: 113 (56.5% ABV)

Appearance: Fairly Dark Copper with thick sticky legs and a long slender necklace around the glass.

Nose: Grassy rye, spearmint, oak, toffee.

On the palate: Full-bodied and sweet. A bit of toffee and then a big burn. On the rocks, as recommended on the label, more sweetness, cotton candy but also oak and vanilla.

Finish: Bubble gum and mint, then a burst of heat, then slow, clingy taffy. On the rocks is not much different, just more subtle and more oak.

Parting words: I sampled some of batch 1 at a friend’s house when it first came out and I thought it was exetremely dull. I later bought some of the 80 proof version and it was similarly boring, but innofensive for summer sipping.

Batch 2 is much more interesting. It leans in the direction of Four Roses with a lot of old-fashioned candy flavors, but has the minty notes of some of the other products coming out of LDI, like Bulleit Rye.

It gets very cloudy on the rocks and has a good number of floaties in the bottle, making me wonder if it was not chill-filtered. If that is the case, no mention of it is on the label. It is the best LDI-distilled bourbon I have tasted, far superior to the high-rye Redemption Bourbon. All that said, it is much too expensive. If it were $10-$15 cheaper, closer to its competitors like Rare Breed and Old Grand-dad 114, Harrison Governor’s Reserve would be highly recommended. As it is, it still earns a recommendation.

Review: Bulleit Rye

Maker: Owned by Diageo, made at LDI, Lawrenceburg, Indiana (Angostura)

Age: NAS

Proof: 90 (45% ABV)

Appearance: New copper with faint thin legs.

Nose: Very light and mild. Alcohol, mango,and peppermint.

On the palate: Medium bodied, more tropical fruit sweetness, spearmint and Genoese Basil now instead of peppermint.

Finish: Hot and minty. Lots of tingle all over the mouth and lips. We’re back to peppermint again, but now with a bit of eucalyptus.

Parting Words: This rye has gotten some bad press online, but I found it perfectly adequate, and worthy of sipping and mixing. If you don’t like menthol flavors in your whiskey, you’re not going to like Bulleit Rye. I do, and I like it. I wouldn’t reach for it over Rittenhouse, but I would say it’s as good as Wild Turkey Rye and better than Beam’s. Diageo deserves some of the criticism it receives, but they deserve credit for putting a pretty good rye on the shelves and giving drinkers of American whiskey another option. Maybe they are starting to “get” American Whiskey again.