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Marshall’s Bourbon Whiskey

Review Marshall’s Bourbon Whiskey   69/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published July 08, 2014

Marshall’s Bourbon Whiskey is produced in Bardstown, Kentucky for the Beveland Liquor Company. In case you did not know, Beveland is located in northern Spain, near the French border, and they are (as far as I can reasonably tell from their website) a small to medium-sized wine and spirits company which sells a variety of distilled spirits into the European market.

I am not really sure how I came upon this particular sample bottle. It seems to have appeared unannounced upon my review shelf in my tasting room. I tried to locate its source, however, I could not even locate a local distributor for the brand. I suspect a friend or relative came upon the bottle in their travels, and slipped it upon my review shelf with the other bourbon whiskeys as an unexpected treat for me. This should be a fun review as I have no idea what to expect from a Bourbon which I could find hardly a trace of on the internet.

Marshall'sIn the Bottle 4/5

Although my sample bottle is a 350 ml flask style bottle, I saw on the Beveland website that the whisky also arrives in the 700 ml configuration shown to the left. It is a fairly standard presentation which has me neither pleased nor displeased.

Some information on the label which tweaks my interest as I notice a the statement that this bourbon claims to have been made since 1935. I also notice that the label states it was distilled and matured by the Kentucky De luxe Distilling Company. A bit of Google research turned up that the Kentucky De Luxe Distilling Company is owned by Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc. so I also now know the producer of the whiskey.

Note: The bourbon whiskey is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Glass 7/10

The Marshall’s Bourbon is a golden caramel coloured whiskey with a hue more towards the yellow and orange than to the copper and brown. When I poured a small sample into my glencairn glass and gave it the customary tilt and swirl, I saw the crest release a myriad of small legs which ran at a moderate pace back into the whiskey. The initial aroma from the glass revealed spicy oak sap and woody cedar scents pushed forward by a rather firm alcohol astringency. Light butterscotch aromas and bits of vanilla pushed through this astringency as did a sort of tobacco-like grassiness. There is some spicy citrus peel in the air as well us some nutty almond.

I let the glass breathe to see what developed, but I was disappointed as the only facets of the whiskey which seemed to grow in the breezes were the notes of tobacco-like grassiness and a stronger alcohol astringency. It would be disingenuous to call these aromas above the glass inviting, rather they seem to warn me away from pressing forward.

In the Mouth 42/60

I will say this for the Marshall’s Bourbon Whiskey, the nose does translate quite well through to the palate. Unfortunately, this is not a compliment. The nose warned me away, and indeed the spirit is harsh on the palate. The flavour features a bitter sap-like spiciness and hot citrus zests both of which ambush the sweeter butterscotch and vanillans before they can fully form upon the palate. The result is a dry grassy bourbon with a bitter backbite. I see no point in trying to forge ahead, I don’t want to sip this bourbon neat, and I do not think you would want to either.

So I turned to my refrigerator and brought out a nice cold can of cola and I mixed a Buckeroo. Cola is, as I have said before a great equalizer of bourbon whiskey. However, I could not help but notice that the mixed drink I made carried the same grassy bitterness which the whiskey had displayed when I sipped it neat. I managed to finish my bar drink; but I have much better whiskey on my bar shelf, and I do not think I will be repeating this experience again anytime soon.

In the Throat 10.5/15

The Marshall’s Bourbon brings a firm burn to the throat and leaves a bitter backbite upon the palate. If you like spicy dry grassy tobacco and hot citrus zest, you might find this appealing; but probably not.

The Afterburn 6.5/10

I do not think I need to say much here. Whoever it was that placed the Marshall’s Bourbon Whiskey upon my review shelf, unwittingly left a bad taste in my mouth. Marshall’s Bourbon is definitely not a sipper, and to be blunt, it doesn’t qualify as a mixer either. I rarely score any spirit below 70; but in this case, I really had no choice.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Recipe:

SAM_0836 Minted brass CoolerNorthern Mint Julep

5 sprigs of Mint
2 oz  Bourbon
1/4 oz Sugar syrup
ice

ginger-ale to fill

Muddle 4 Sprigs of Mint and the Sugar syrup in the bottom of a mixing glass
Add the Wild Turkey Bourbon
Stir and fine strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice
Complete with ginger-ale
Garnish with another Sprig of mint
Enjoy!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74   Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79   You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84   We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89   Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94   Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+        I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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