This past Friday was the latest meeting of the River City Whisky Society and it was a good one. We were recently contacted by Brad Duncan, the Market Manager (MO) for Midwest Grain Products (MGP), the largest distillery you have never heard of. Brad offered to come out to a meeting and let us try a few products that MGP is producing.
First, a little about MGP. MGP is in Lawrenceburg, IN and has been producing spirits since 1847. Over the years it has been owned by various groups, coming under the ownership of MGP in 2011. They produce tons of products sold under different names. Lets say, for example, you open a distillery. After you make your whisky you need to age it. But you need money now. You could work with a company like MGP who will sell you whisky that has already been aging. You can then put your name on it and sell it. Or lets say you already have a great bourbon on the market and you want to add a rye whiskey under the same name. You can contract with MGP to produce that rye whiskey for you. (Actually, Im simplifying things. Im sure the process is a bit more complicated and there are federal labeling regulations to be followed. But you get the picture.)
Mr. Duncan was very good about not telling us who they produce for but I will bet you have had a product that came out of their distillery.
So this brings us to the tasting. You would figure that a company who had produced some of the best whiskies on the market for other companies would actually produce and sell one for themselves. Well a few years ago they began this process. And at our tasting Mr. Duncan presented five of those whiskies.
Our tasting featured the following:
George Remus, Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 47% ALC
Remus Repeal Reserve Series I, Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 47% ALC
Remus Repeal Reserve Series II, Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 50% ALC
Rossville Master Crafted Straight Rye Whiskey, 47% ALC
Rossville Barrel Proof Straight Rye Whiskey, 56.3% ALC
Each of these were quite good. My favorite was the series I. But I really liked the George Remus as well. It is a very high rye bourbon. It probably has the highest rye content of any bourbon on the market.
The Remus Repeal Reserve will have several bottles in the series, a new one replacing its predecessor, so be sure to get each of them. You will want to buy two bottles of each, one to drink and one to collect. If you search enough you may be able to find the Series I still on a shelf somewhere. The series II just hit the shelves this month. Also, whats unusual about the Series whiskies is that they put the mashbill (the grains used in the product) right on the label. Almost unheard of in the industry and a great idea.
Also, you may ask Who is George Remus? One of the great things about bourbons is that there is generally a good story behind the name, and this one is exceptional. I recommend you do a bit of research into Mr. Remus and his contribution to whiskey in the United States.
Here are a few links that you may find helpful:
www.tillvodka.com (their award winning vodka).
This was a great tasting and a fantastic presentation. Thank you, Mr. Duncan!