WInchester Extra Smooth Bourbon
You read that score right. 55. Out of 100.
What it is
Winchester Extra Smooth Bourbon is a bourbon created using the TerrePURE technology from Terressentials. What is TerrePURE, you ask? Good question.
Our patented TerrePURE® technology is a natural process that has been independently proven to reduce unwanted, harsh-tasting congeners, revealing a smoother, more sophisticated spirit in the process.
It does this more effectively than previously used, traditional methods by using ultrasonic energy. Applied with oxygenation after standard distillation, TerrePURE® finishes chemical reactions that failed to complete in the fermentation stage.
The proof of this process is obvious the first time you taste our spirits. TerrePURE® reduces several known congeners (such as methanol, isobutanol, amyl alcohols, propanol, and free radicals) to a greater degree than any other industry method. In addition to this reduction of congeners, our TerrePURE® technology also induces a conversion of certain harsh-tasting acids to smooth-tasting esters (glycerides). This conversion produces a spirit with a much smoother mouth-feel and dramatically enhanced taste and flavor.
For brown spirits, such as bourbon and other traditionally-aged whiskeys, the result is a rapid maturation that would otherwise take 4-6 years.
Now the obvious question: Does it work?
For that, we’ll taste Winchester Extra Smooth Bourbon, which is a 6 month old TerrePure product bottled at 90 proof.
Now, before we get more into this, let me explain this bottle was gifted to me by someone in the industry who wanted me to try it and give honest feedback. I tried this, not knowing what it was and how it was made.
I’m going to skip the normal format and formalities of our reviews to tell you straight away- this bourbon sucks.
•45% ABV (90º)
•Mash Bill: Unknown
•Barrel Char: Not in the barrel long enough to matter
•Age: 3.5 years too short
•Availability: Unfortunately, not limited enough
•Price Paid: Gift, thank goodness.
The best part of Winchester Bourbon is the packaging. It’s actually quite nice. It reminds me a bit of the Orphan Barrel bottle in shape, which is ironic, as those suffer most greatly from OVER aging. Also of note is the “Since 1866” on the label. *cough*bullsh!t*cough*
The second best part of the experience- and that’s not a compliment- is the pale straw color that shows a lack of time in the barrel.
It smells like immature corn whiskey. I think I got hints of caramel and vanilla in there, but it’s hard to tell through the reek of under aged whiskey.
Oh lord. The worst part about this is that someone tasted this in some lab or tasting room somewhere and said “Yup. This is what we wanted. Bottle it up!” I like to think that person has no tongue, because that would make it forgivable. This is raw alcohol with hints of corn. There is no nuance, no depth, and certainly none of the sweet vanilla and caramel that is a staple of a barrel aged bourbon.
It’s medium in length. I Wish it was short. The mouthfeel is thin and nearly nonexistent. There are the first hints of bourbon flavors with a touch of burnt brown sugar and thin caramel, but nothing worth remembering.
Extra Smooth? Please. I’ve reviewed somewhere around 150 bourbons on this site and tasted countless more through the years. We’ve just found our lowest scoring bourbon in the 3+ years since our launch. There are, frankly, no redeeming qualities about it. There are no substitutes for time and natural aging in a barrel. None. I tried to think of ways I could be polite and professional on the review, but the whole idea of skipping what makes bourbon good through science is, well, sort of insulting to the actual craft of making bourbon.
In my humble opinion, the whole idea of using this technology to filter out what makes a bourbon bad completely ignores the concept of what makes a bourbon good. We don’t age bourbon for 4 years to make it “less bad.” We do it to make it good. As a born and raised Kentuckian who takes great pride in his state’s heritage as a bourbon producer, the best thing I can say about Winchester Extra Smooth Bourbon is “Thank God it wasn’t made in Kentucky.”
Winchester Bourbon is what happens when you take the “Craft” out of whiskey making.
I lost it on this: “Yup. This is what we wanted. Bottle it up!”
I’m an engineer, multidisciplinary. Indeed, technology does wonders when properly applied. I have read, studied and thought about the making of bourbon for hours and hours. My trip to Buffalo Trace, Willett, Heaven Hill, and others was just fascinating. Did several visits to distilleries. The distillate is crucial, as is the critical separating of the heads, hearts and tails. Then once in the barrel, the key ingredient is time. There are hundreds of different compounds in play, and the subsequent reactions of the distillate water and alcohols with the wood is mesmerizing. Until we know exactly the composition of the distillate and the chemistry of the wood, and identify exactly all those elements within that cause the desirable and undesirable flavor characteristics, and we can control those characteristics given a wide range of distillates and wood variations, and understand the complete interaction between the distillate and wood, then we should not try to apply technology to accelerate it.
You have to think about a full barrel, just sitting for years and years. What is really going on in there? It is fascinating.
Consider that for every 100 barrels that are filled with the same batch of distillate, there will be a wide range of resulting product. From fine sipping bourbons to bottom shelf mixer grade, and everything in between.
I bought a 50 ml sample of this last year and thought they went to a lot of trouble to make an expensive bottom shelf mixer. I distinctly remember saying to myself, “It’s not worth sipping and mixers are a hell of a lot cheaper.”
It’s just hot corn. It reminds me of the reposado whiskey Beam did a few years back. (Jacob’s Ghost?) That being said, I’ve had a few worse whiskeys. They were all homemade and aged six months in Mason jars with a couple oak sticks tossed in for color (if you take em to a nice char with a propane torch it makes it look almost like real whiskey)