WIDOW JANE HEIRLOOM BOURBON WHISKEY
When we decided to try our hand at crafting Bourbons, we started by identifying our goal:
Produce the finest Bourbons and whiskeys, sparing no expenses, cutting no corners, making no compromises, using no genetically modified corns, grains, yeasts, or enzymes.
I began carefully researching heirloom and ancient strains of corn. I love stories and history, and since this company started with researching genealogy and stories of my own ancestors, I related personally to a number of corn varietals that were developed and kept alive by passionate families, tribes, and individuals. For example, Bloody Butcher corn was bred by crossing Native American seeds with settlers’ white seeds around 1800, in the Appalachian mountains. Wapsie Valley, another hybrid of American Indian corn, got its start in the hands of dedicated farmers in Iowa. Along with other native and heirloom grains, these varietals have carried with them the hopes and hard work of their progenitors for generations.
While we started farm-to-table on the chocolate/rum side or our business, we were not corn or grain farmers to start in New York. We had a rough time getting going on our whiskey program, catching dismissive comments with everyone from farmers to whiskey industry insiders. From a farmer’s perspective the yield of these heirloom corns/grains were unknown to significantly lower than growing Montsanto varieties. In their minds they would be giving away money. Comments from many industry people were to the effect: you are wasting your money, too high a protein content, will get low yields, just use yellow, it's cheap, etc...
It's true that the economics of growing these ancient grains over modern GMO varieties are not immediately to our advantage; the yields on our crops are 1/10 to 1/4 that of GMO yellow varieties, thus costing proportionally that much more to grow. The protein contents are higher and starch significantly lower, driving the efficiency of converting corn to whiskey down and cost further up.
Despite these factors, we are extremely happy we strayed from popular opinion and went our own way.
Why? Because the results are spectacular.
We are distilling, in our opinion and in the opinion of those who have tasted, some of the finest American whiskeys ever produced.
American Whiskey: Bourbon & Rye have all of the subtleties and complexities of the finest wines. In wine terroir can be noted field by field; such is largely not the case for American Whiskey, where the mainstay ingredients are modern GMO corn, rye and barley, farmed on a mass agricultural scale hard to imagine and then centrally batched.
We are committed to changing this, beginning with what we call single expressions.
I am proud to share with you the fruits of our labor: New York State grown farm-to-bottle Bloody Butcher and Wapsie Valley.
I hope you will enjoy.
Founder Widow Jane & Cacao Prieto Distilleries
"I am excited to see history and terroir expressed in the heirloom bourbon whiskey releases from Widow Jane. By selecting single expressions of the individual heirloom grains, we can compare one varietal against another to see terroir expressed to the fullest extent, and appreciate the vast differences so expressed. It is a treat to taste these distinctive varietals displayed in bourbon whiskey." - Dave Pickerell, Master Distiller
HEIRLOOM VARIETAL TASTING NOTES
Farm-to-Bottle, 100% Organic, Ancient Heirloom Corn
NOSE: White Tea, Red Currant, Kettle Corn
TASTE: Tart Cherry, Cornbread, Gingersnap
FINISH: Rum Rasin, Apricot, Allspice
NOSE: Almond, Maple, Unsweetened Cacao
TASTE: Pralines, Orange Oils, Bergamot
FINISH: Honey, Mace, Nutmeg
WAPSIE VALLEY HIGH RYE
NOSE: Sweet Corn, Spicy Cinnamon
TASTE: Hazelnut, Caramel, Spice
FINISH: Tamarind, Sarsparilla
NOSE: Sweet Oak, Graham Cracker
TASTE: Vanilla, Allspice
FINISH: Tobacco, Molasses, Oak
BLOODY BUTCHER HIGH RYE
NOSE: Sandalwood, Cedar, Leather
TASTE: Apricot, Marshmallows, Cardamom
FINISH: Peanuts, Honey Peaches, Dates
NOSE: Carob, Dark Chocolate, Burnt Caramel
TASTE: Smoked Peppers, Mole, Ground Almond
FINISH: Dry, Toasted Oak
NOSE: Toffee, Brown Sugar, Clove
TASTE: Earthy, Farro, Polenta, Popcorn
FINISH: Tart Cherry, Buttermilk
"It is great to see Widow Jane embrace organic, open pollinated, non-GMO varieties of corn in their selection of Bloody Butcher and Wapsie Valley for their heirloom bourbon whiskey releases. These expressions add greatly to our understanding of fine bourbon whiskey." - Dave Pickerell, Master Distiller