A Piece of History
Out of the large haystack of craft distilleries setting up shop today, American Freedom Distillery is a big red, white, and blue needle. Normally we try not to concern ourselves with the details or the background of a distillery and instead focus on the product itself. Today is a different story, and more importantly the distillery we’re talking about today has a story that deserves to be told. The gentlemen who own and operate this distillery are ex-Army Special Forces Soldiers (Green Berets and Rangers). In addition to serving their country, they were actually the first soldiers sent overseas to Afghanistan after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centers.They were deployed so swiftly that, in fact, their typical equipment had not arrived yet, not to mention the mountain passes were too windy and narrow for their usual vehicles. These brave men literally had to mount horses and team up with the locals in order to get to where they needed to go and complete their mission. Yes, you read that right. In 2001, not 1901 America’s best and bravest went into the field, overseas, in enemy territory, ON HORSEBACK. It’s not our place to tell the rest of their story, but it is such an amazing story that if you would like to see it told on the big screen, you can check out Hollywood’s latest blockbuster. 12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of The Horse Soldiers. In theaters today!
Now to talk about their bourbon: Horse Soldier. Assuming you read the paragraph above, you can probably guess where they got the name. Horse Soldier is an eight-year age stated bourbon with a wheated mashbill that comes in both 95 proof and barrel strength versions. Typically a bourbon mashbill consists of corn, malted barley and rye but a wheated bourbon uses wheat instead of rye which typically results in a softer and sweeter profile. Some other popular wheated bourbons are Maker’s Mark, Larceny, the Weller line and of course we can’t forget: Pappy Van Winkle.
As homage to their background, their unique history and America herself, the new molds used to cast the Horse Soldier bottles are made out of recycled steel from the Twin Towers. This means that almost every bottle of Horse Solider has literally been touched by a piece of American history, a very dark part of American history, but history nonetheless. This is just one of many examples of how they honor their country and their fellow serviceman with their name, their whisky, their craft and their passion.
Released at the end of 2017, the Horse Solder 8 Year Wheated Cask Strength Bourbon is bottled at 56.5% ABV, 113 proof. For this review I will be tasting the whiskey with and without a few drops of water in a Glencairin glass.
Tasting Notes: Horse Soldier 8 Year Cask Strength Wheated Bourbon
Appearance: Golden amber
Nose: Very earthy and grassy at first sniff. Ripe apple, light honey, vanilla and caramel after about 5 minutes of opening up. Adding a few drops of water mutes the grassiness and really brings out the candied grains. Not like the candied caramel and vanilla of OWA.
Palate: Light oak, honeysuckle and sour apple on the mid palate, cherry wood overtones. Again, adding water brings out the sweetness and grains.
Finish: Medium to long finish. Drinks below it’s stated proof. Gentle on the back of the throat. Leaves more light honey and sour apple lingering on the back of the tongue. A bit spicy for a wheated mashbill.
Right away we can say the people who run this distillery and the story behind the bottles are enough to get anyone to buy them. It’s owning a piece of American History and supporting veterans at the same time. As another new craft distillery beginning their journey, we think the 8 year cask strength is an interesting debut. It isn’t your typical wheated bourbon like Weller Antique or Maker’s Mark. It’s more earthy and less candied caramel than the average wheater, however it holds a sweet and sour apple taste on your palate with big hits of cherrywood. In our opinion this bottle deserves a couple weeks to open up in the bottle after the first crack to fully appreciate what it has to offer. The ethanol has time to settle and the grassy earth tones mellow so the sweetness from the wheat can flourish. If you want to fast track this or experiment, you can use techniques to aerate the whiskey. Either way, this is a cool bottle all the way through. We both agree that we are a bit more excited for the maturation of their own distilled whiskey they having sleeping at the moment. Keep your eyes peeled.
Contents: 56.5% ABV // 113 proof // Wheated mashbill // 8 Years Old // Sourced
Location: Bottled in Columbus Ohio
MSRP: Approx. $80. We acquired our bottle through LuekensLiquor.com.
Editor’s Note: This whiskey was proudly purchased by Superfly Bourbon Club. In no way, does acquiring the bottle in any form manipulate the direction of this review. Some information sourced from AmericanFreedomDistillery.com and in an interview with the owners.