Review: Corner Creek Bourbon

All week people have been asking about the odd, brown wine on the Drinkhacker “to review” shelf. It ain’t Chardonnay. It’s Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon Whiskey, which is sold in a traditional white wine bottle, much to the confusion of passers-by.

Corner Creek is an artisan bourbon, aged eight years in oak, bottled at 88 proof, and “lightly filtered.” It’s that last part that’s the kicker. Corner Creek has more “flavor” to it than just about any spirit I’ve encountered since starting this website. Some of that flavor is good: Strong vanilla, toasty oak wood, cherry fruit. But there’s a real roughness here that you’ll either find charming or overpowering. Charcoal, earthy, and gut-punching char, Corner Creek finishes with a reminder of whiskey’s days in the saloons and poker tables of the Old West. Aside from the wine bottle, I mean.

Corner Creek is the very definition of a “frontier whiskey,” and in fact I was strongly reminded of Bulleit Bourbon when I sampled it (repeatedly), though with less of a smoky character.

Corner Creek is complex and challenging, but it’s quite drinkable. In fact, it can generate quite the debate over the importance of “smoothness” in bourbon. That is, I have to say, the last term I’d use to describe this intriguing bottle.

B+ / $18 (on huge discount here; $28 is more typical) /

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8 Responses

  1. aaron February 26, 2009 / 10:12 pm

    this is at my corner store – i’ll pick up a bottle next time I’m there. I hope your sponsor is paying you well – i bet this site leads to a lot of people straying from the beaten path of the standards,…

  2. Jeff Tucker November 3, 2011 / 7:48 pm

    If I was asked to sum up this bourbon in one word that word would be “sucks.” It has a rather thick mouthfeel that I find offputting, and I also find it to be overly sweet, so sweet it reminds me of Canadian whiskey. The flavors are not particularly interesting either, it reminds me of Jack Daniels. Perhaps the best way to describe this bourbon would be Jack Daniels mixed with Crown Royal. For the price one could do much better with Blantons, or Eagle Creek, or even Makers Mark.

  3. Brian March 22, 2013 / 6:39 pm

    Jeff; Where do you live where Blantons is only $24?

  4. Adam June 22, 2013 / 5:41 pm

    You may think this is a little crazy, but it’s not joke. I am a heavy bourbon drinker and Corner Creak, not only has a great taste, but my hangovers pale in comparison to say Woodford Reserve or Buffalo Trace. It tastes great and I wake up without the issues!

  5. Mike The Beer Guy July 9, 2013 / 6:45 pm

    I found this to be an excellent sipping bourbon. It has plenty of character but is quite smooth. It was perfect to take sips of while bbqing this past weekend. A bargain at 22.99.

  6. Chuck October 19, 2013 / 10:25 am

    I find it very smooth and to echo Adam’s observation it is the least prone to cause a hangover of any bourbon I have tried.

  7. Doug February 26, 2015 / 7:41 am

    Yours is the first review of this bourbon that I totally agree with. At first, the “earth” of it was a bit much. And as I drank it, I realized that it’s actually a floral flavor, like if you were to chew on a rose-petal. And that finish is pretty relentless. It’s very smooth, and actually sweet and lovely in the mouth, but that flavor is short, and the earth takes over and lingers forever.

    My friend loved it though. He didn’t catch any of the same things I did. And he drank a LOT of it.

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