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American Whiskey Bourbon Rated B- Reviews Whiskey

Review: Old Whiskey River Bourbon

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Looking for a bourbon you can knock back — the better part of bottle, really — and never notice you were drinking it? Meet your match.

Old Whiskey River is perhaps the smoothest whiskey I’ve ever had. I was shocked to see it was 86 proof. It could have been iced tea for all I knew. (OK, not really.)

But seriously, OWR goes down easy: Straight, rocks, water… doesn’t matter. If you cringe when you drink straight liquor, you’ll have no trouble with “The River.” Now that of course is a good thing and a bad. The bourbon has little natural character to it; a slight oak and vanilla note, but they’re surprisingly faint. The slightest touch of a mixer makes it watery. It’s fine in a blended cocktail, but those looking for a complicated straight sipping experience will be disappointed.

It should not go unsaid that Willie Nelson is “inspired by and made for” Willie Nelson: It even comes with a Willie Nelson guitar pick wired to the neck of the bottle. Despite the name, you might have trouble finding OWR. And if you do, it’ll cost you: $32 or so, considerably more than some considerably tastier bottlings.

B- / $32 / drinksamericas.com

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Christopher Null

Christopher Null is the creator and editor in chief of Drinkhacker.com, a veteran technology journalist, and the owner of Null Media, a custom blogging company.

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7 Comments

  1. Scott Simms September 30, 2008

    I could not agree with you more. As much as I enjoy Willie Nelson, his namesake whiskey is a disappointment. There are so many better tasting whiskies available at better prices there is just no compelling reason to invest in this one. My current Favorites include Elijah Craig 12 yr. old{better in my book than the much pricier 18yr old version] the most complex I have yet found but too much going on iwith the taste taste to be a good mixer. Eagle Rare S/B , is simply delicious. Four Roses S/B is wonderful but too hard to find. I like the wheated products such as Weller and Makers, a ladies Bourbon, and all of the Van Winkles. The real sleepers are from Barton. Very Old Barton 6 yr. old is way too good for it’s price. Kentusky Tavern an overlooked treasure. It is my very favorite mixer at any price and it is CHEEP. Cheers

    Reply
  2. Ben Kenny February 19, 2010

    Not worth the money. Worse than Jim Beam or Jack Daniels. Avoid this bourbon at all costs.

    Reply
  3. James Dukes June 13, 2011

    I do not agree. I really do like this whiskey. I mostly drink Jack Daniels but I do enjoy Old Whiskey River when I can find it in stores.

    Reply
  4. Rex Kusler July 17, 2011

    This is my favorite whiskey, but I only drink it by the shot. It goes good with beer. I like it so much I put it in my book ASHES TO DUST.

    Reply
  5. Poker Bob March 6, 2012

    The price has come down since this review. I recently picked up a 750ml bottle for 20 bucks. That’s a GREAT price for an 86 proof, 6 year-old bourbon. Very tasty, highly recommended.

    Reply
  6. Nikolai Andersen June 29, 2014

    Is it possible to buy in stores in or around New York?

    Reply
  7. Dave May 30, 2017

    I have had several bourbon tasting events with friends who are not bourbon enthusiasts. We blind taste five different bourbons and I always include Old Whiskey River in the mix. At the end of every event, Old Whiskey River was one of the best liked. Thus, all those snooty bourbon experts are full of BS.

    Reply

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