Bluestone Manor Bourbon Review – Paste

Evaluating a celebrity-owned whiskey is a particularly confusing experience in the rare event that you I don’t even know who the celebrity is before falling on the bottle. So that was on me when I first started reading up on Bluestone Manor Bourbon, only to find that almost all of the reviews for the brand weren’t from avid whiskey types, but from The Real Housewives of New York City Fans. It didn’t take long to understand why: Bluestone Manor Bourbon is a new brand of original bourbon marketed and sold by Dorinda Medley, an American entrepreneur who was a star actor in this series. The brand is named after the “iconic Massachusetts house” of Medley, with whom she is apparently very much in love, to the point that it is a common gag in the series that she does not tolerate disrespect for her. House. The whiskey is marketed with fancy text claiming that the mansion was a 1920s underground bar, a place that “served as a haven for self-expression and freedom”, but I’m not sure if all of this is even slightly true. What I can to tell you, is that Medley got himself some decent bourbon, and that is the important thing.

This whiskey, currently available for pre-order in 32 states, and will be deployed nationwide this month, comes from the Hudson Valley Spirits Lab Distillery, a small operation that mainly focuses on the distillation of grain grown in New York. The company has been around long enough that it can offer a decent age statement for a craft distillery – this is a 5 year old pure bourbon whiskey, made from a 70% wheat bourbon mashbill made from corn, 25% wheat and 5% malt. barley. It’s bottled at an affordable 45% ABV (proof 90), at a fairly reasonable MSRP of $ 45. The pretty decanter-style bottle looks quite similar to Buffalo Trace’s Rock Hill Farms brand in particular, to the point that one wonders if they were trying to conjure up comparison with the prestige of another sought-after brand.

Either way, it’s safe to say that my personal interest in Medley, and his home by extension, is more or less non-existent. I’ve never tasted Spirits Lab whiskey before, so let’s explore what made the real housewife choose to source from such a small business rather than one of the Kentucky giants.

On the nose, I quickly get impressions of caramel and burnt sugar, with grilled cloves and very dark red fruit fillets. There is a little youthful impression on the wooded facade, with young but not unpleasant notes of sawdust, accompanied by sweet cocoa. Overall, a sweet but pleasant nose with a nice character of caramelized sugar and hints of spices and fruits.

In the mouth, what stands out here above all is the sweetness of the approach of this bourbon. The 90 proof point is pretty low, admittedly, but this one drinks more like an 80 proof dram in terms of ethanol heat, while still making a reasonable flavor claim to play. I get notes of cinnamon fries and spices, passing to a slightly drier and woody finish. The spicy character of the oak here is remarkable, almost reminiscent of some more potent toasted barrel bourbons – it seems to bring in a lot of ginger and brown spices.

Ultimately, this is a fairly balanced and flavorful enough dram – not very complex, but easy enough to enjoy and more composed than what you see in a lot of comparable artisanal bourbon. Admittedly, that speaks fairly well of Spirits Lab’s aging program. I feel like the only consumer who would be disappointed with this profile might be someone who wants a bigger, bolder profile, but for a bourbon backed by a 90-proof celebrity, that wouldn’t. a lot of sense to expect in the first place. For what it is, I can only conclude that this bourbon is quite successful.

Distillery: Bluestone Manor Bourbon (Spirits Laboratory)
City: Newburgh, New York State
Style: Pure bourbon whiskey (wheat)
ABV: 45% (90 proofs)
Availablity: 750 ml bottles, MSRP of $ 45

Jim Vorel is a Paste staff writer and resident liquor geek. You can follow him on twitter for more drink writing.

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