Today, I am reviewing Corner Creek Reserve, an 8 year old bourbon bottled and sold by Corner Creek Distilling (which I believe is owned by Willett, but I could be wrong about that one). The bourbon comes packaged neatly in what appears to be an old wine bottle. If you were to rip the label off, I suspect most folks would you think you had an old Brandy or Sherry on your hands (just imagine the picture from Corner Creek’s website without the label… http://www.cornercreekbourbon.com/Resources/ccbottle1.jpg). Of course, like all great bourbon drinkers, I am not swayed by the packaging, and my taste buds do all the work in determining the quality of a whiskey (written with a sarcastic chuckle). Corner Creek Reserve is bottled at 88 proof, but it is only lightly filtered, leading to a nice, hazy amber in the glass.
On the nose, Corner Creek has some nice vanilla, barrel char, tannins, over ripened berries, bananas, and dried bananas. The palate is especially sweet with berry fruits and corn syrup, and very light-bodied. Some bitter tannins begin to creep in towards the back of the palate and into the finish. The finish is a bit tannic as well, but there is also cherry and vanilla along with a bit of the barrel char from the nose. To me, this bourbon is sweet and sour throughout the whole way through, playing back and forth between the two.
Overall, I do like Corner Creek Reserve, but it is certainly not my favorite. It could definitely be a great introduction to bourbon because it is so light and easy-drinking, but that only works if a person then goes on to find better bourbons. If the sweet, berried, oaky flavor profile suits your palate, snag a bottle of Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Collection instead. The real highlight of Corner Creek is the price, which is very reasonable, especially compared to other bourbons the same age. That said, there are too many other good bourbons on the market to keep this one around my cabinet very often. My Grade: C. Price: $20-25/750ml. This is a bourbon worth trying, but overall I just didn’t find it all that captivating.