Review: Troy & Sons Platinum, Oak Reserve, and Blonde Whiskey

troy and sons oak reserve

Asheville Distilling Company in North Carolina is behind the Troy & Sons brand, but there really is a Troy: Troy Ball, who happens to be a woman. She indeed has three sons.

This craft distillery is heavily focused on corn whiskey/moonshine, and relies on heirloom grains for all its distillate. To date the company has three products, two all-corn whiskeys and one wheat/corn whiskey called Blonde. All are 80 proof. Thoughts follow.

Troy & Sons Platinum Whiskey Heirloom Moonshine – Made from Crooked Creek heirloom white corn, cut with Appalachian spring water. Classic corn on the nose, with strong petroleum overtones. The body is gentler than you’d think, heavy on the popcorn but tempered with easy sweetness, some mushroom notes, green pepper, and a bit of raw ginger on the finish. Fairly typical of today’s “craft” moonshines, but not without quite a bit of charm. B / $30

Troy & Sons Oak Reserve Whiskey Heirloom Moonshine – Per the company, this is not entirely whiskey but rather “aged moonshine,” rested in ex-bourbon barrels for an indeterminate time, but long enough to give it a classic whiskey coloration. There’s a strong pungency on the nose — raw wood, vanilla extract, and licorice — but as with Platinum, the body belies a simpler, more gentle construction. Easy cereal notes and some licorice ultimately lead to lots of tannic astringency as the more raw flavors from the wood barrel come forth on the finish. B- / $35

Blonde Whiskey – Not bottled under the Troy & Sons label, but rather, in the fine print, under the Asheville Distilling banner. Made from a blend of heirloom Turkey red wheat and its white corn, Asheville claims to take very precise cuts of its distillate so that only the purest whiskey goes into barrel. The whiskey is then aged in barrels made with “honeycomb-laced staves,” time unstated. The avowed goal of Blonde is to create a whiskey “without bite or burn,” but some might ask, “What’s the point of that?” Either way, what Asheville has done is craft a whiskey that is loaded with grain character but balanced by more traditional American whiskey notes — baking spices, vanilla, and gingerbread. The finish is much less oppressive than the Oak Reserve reviewed above, but it’s still a few solid years of barrel time away from true maturity. B / $40

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9 Responses

  1. Dan February 10, 2015 / 8:17 am

    >but it’s still a few solid years of barrel time away from true maturity

    This, to me, is the essential problem with the artisanal bourbon “movement.”

    The main barrier to entry in this market is time, time in barrel to be specific.

    There are now hundreds of over-priced under-aged whiskies flooding the market. While I appreciate the idea of supporting local businesses and artisanal “craft” producers, I have no interest in purchasing products that are overpriced and not ready. This is a serious problem in the whiskey world now and I wish that whiskey writers would write about it.

    When the correction to this overloaded market comes folks who have no following and no customer base because they’ve overcharged on their too young product will not survive.

    I honestly cannot understand the business model of entrepreneurs who refuse to price aggressively and pretend that their product is ready after say, 6 days or 6 months in barrel while the other guy’s stuff is of lesser quality at the same age.

    Seems to me that many of these whiskey entrepreneurs haven’t a clue as to who their true market really is.


  2. Austin, TX February 10, 2015 / 7:53 pm

    I agree with a lot of what Dan says, but in this case, Troy & Sons, $30 to $40 per bottle is the lowest you’re gonna see for any true (not sourced) American craft whiskey, versus say $60 to $80 or more other brands (Garrison Brothers as one example) like to charge.

    They all have distilleries to pay for, we understand, but come on man. As Dan implies, don’t price yourself outta the market — right outta the gate.

    For $35, I’ll give any craft (not sourced) brand a shot, including Troy & Sons should they reach my neighborhood.

  3. dan February 10, 2015 / 8:31 pm

    Thanks, to Austin, Tx for commenting.

    I have to add this: I haven’t tried this bourbon, and likely will not unless they release a tasting sampler of some kind, which I would like to see from the majority of craft distillers. Why they do not do this so that real bourbon people can try their wares before purchasing a larger and more costlier bottle remains a mystery to me. Come on folks! Let’s see some aggressive marketing and pricing!!

    Also, Troy and Sons should re-look at their marketing photos.

    Click on the photo in this blog post and take a look at the cork in the bottle. That doesn’t look like any cork I’ve ever seen, anywhere. In fact, it looks really weird. If I wasn’t a bourbon person already, I’d sure be switched off trying to figure out what that cork is, because it sure doesn’t look like cork.

    Recommendation to Troy and Sons: Get another bottle with a really good looking cork, and retake that photo. Find that bottle with the weird cork and hide it somewhere. Get all the photos with the weird “cork” thing and recall them, all of them.

  4. Austin, TX February 11, 2015 / 5:46 pm

    Dan, this cork looks like a plastic type cork, and not real cork. I’ve seen this type of cork more and more in recent years used for different spirits, like tequila.

    Maybe it doesn’t dry out as fast as real cork, makes a tighter seal, or something. But I wouldn’t worry too much about it, or make judgement on the whiskey or brand because of a cork. I mean, it’s just a cork.

    As for samplers, I love them. You just don’t hardly see any from any brand, even the big brands.

  5. Christopher Null February 11, 2015 / 8:37 pm

    Dan – to echo Austin, yes, it’s a rubberized stopper of sorts. Not uncommon.

  6. Dan February 12, 2015 / 7:32 am

    Thanks, guys.

    It just looks weird in the photo is all.

    I’m sure their juice is perfectly fine. I’d like to try it, too.
    Note to Troy and Sons: Please release a sampler!


  7. Robert Oprisko June 10, 2015 / 9:35 am

    I’ve recently had the pleasure to try each of the above whiskeys and would like to see what some real age brings. I have a feeling it will go from good to exceptional. The Blonde, which is my favorite of the three, is aged in Woodford Reserve barrels. The Oak Reserve is aged in burnt white oak and I find to occupy the middle ground.

    For my palate, the raw character of moonshine is too high a barrier for entry. What I can say is that, of the moonshine I’ve tasted, Troy and Sons is far and away the least harsh, has the most complexity, and shows a fantastic return on even minimal aging.

    I will be pairing the three with cigars and reviewing them. I have high hopes for the blonde and the Oak Reserve . . . and I am cautiously optimistic about the platinum.

  8. Ben D September 10, 2015 / 6:49 am

    I enjoyed the Oak Reserve, but the Blonde blew it’s doors off. While not a 5star whiskey, it is very good and I like the fact that the ingredients can be traced to within 50 miles or so of the distillery. Haven’t tried to unaged Platinum yet.

  9. rick truesdale July 23, 2016 / 1:06 pm

    I was recently in Asheville at one of the local ABC stores and found for the first time the blonde whiskey. bought and tried this. big fan of bourbon / whiskey’s and found this to be absolutely fantastic. like that it is smooth and does not have a big “bite” to it. favorites tend to be woodford, gentleman jack or jack daniel varieties, makers mark, and some others. i found this better than those.

    will be looking for this locally in the charlotte area where i live. anxious also to try their other two varieties as i have had a hard time finding a good moonshine outside of the old-timer stuff i tried years ago (milk jug variety).

    highly recommend.

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