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Warbringer is a new unique product in the world of bourbon.  Produced by the Sespe Creek Distillery in California, this 49% (98 proof) ABV whiskey looks to establish itself as a true expression of the American southwest. The corn and rye in the mash bill are smoked with mesquite and the bourbon is finished in sherry.  Unfortunately the exact grain bill percentages were not provided and could not be obtained.  This whiskey is distilled at 98 proof by master distiller David Brandt at the aforementioned distillery.  Taken from the Sespe Creek Distillery website about him:



Head distiller

After a long career in biotechnology, David stepped off the beaten path to start his own distillery. His career in biotech and pharmaceuticals spanned 20 years, where he contributed to many milestones of drug research and development.  Specifically, he built the drug discovery organization at MannKind Corporation, delivering a diabetes drug to the clinic and a number of oncology candidates to development. He led a number of lead discovery programs at Proctor & Gamble Pharmaceuticals that covered a broad range of therapeutic areas including diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, and infectious disease. He was also involved in the early pioneering days of high throughput screening, working in the area of laboratory robotics and automation at Beckman Coulter Inc. 

David received his Ph.D. from the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville School of Medicine. He was a Research Fellow and Associate Professor at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and his research interests have been focused in the development of novel therapeutics and developing technologies that can improve the process of patient diagnosis, treatment, and overall care.

David’s extensive experience with chemistry, technology and medicine has given him a unique perspective on the distillation process.  His insights have resulted in some of the industry’s most important breakthroughs, including the accelerated aging of spirits, intense grain smoking and all-natural flavor infusion.  David’s lab is located inside our Oxnard, California distillery where everyday he brings the spirit of innovation and exploration to the field of craft spirits.

With such impressive credentials behind it, how is the whiskey?


  • Medium-dark brown with tinges of copper.  Medium to long-legs.


  • Mesquite smoke and roasted corn.


  • The sherry simply can not cut through the smoke.  The smoke overpowers everything used in the grain bill and the cask aging.


  • Nice thick mouthfeel but a flavor similar to chewing on a piece of charcoal remains for quite a while.

Modernthirst.com score: 76 out of 100

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Warbringer Mesquite Smoked Sherry Cask Finished Bourbon

76 Nope

Well Warbringer certainly brings the war...... to your palate. In fact, it is so smoky, it really ends up tasting more like a mezcal than a whiskey. And with that said, if it was a mezcal, it would have received a great review. Unfortunately for Sespe Creek though, it is a bourbon, and it isn't good on its own, on the rocks, or in any classic cocktail I tried with it. I can see mixologists using it sparingly in creative cocktails however.

About Author

Nick is a veteran writer about all things spirits, an avid brewer of craft brews, and self-proclaimed whiskey fanatic from Houston, TX. He had written for close to a decade about spirits for Examiner.com but is also a systems administrator by trade in the field of IT. He's been spotted at several high-profile tasting events all over Houston, and has made tons of friends in the beer, wine, and spirits world over the years. He is married with two sons, and currently resides in the Houston suburb of Tomball. You can follow him on Twitter @fykusfire.

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