Review: J.W. Dant Bourbon

4605-6544jwdantoubnboxFirst, for your consideration, a bit of history: Joseph Washington Dant was a well-known Kentucky distiller who in 1836 gained a reputation for making his whisky using a log still. For those not versed in the distillation arts, that’s essentially a hollowed out tree trunk with copper piping running through the center. The logs would then be filled with mash and steam would run through the copper pipe for the distilling process. Dant would go on to own a proper distillery some 40 years later, and generations of his family would continue to work in the industry. Eventually they would honor his legacy with a bottle bearing his name in the late ’50s. The brand would stay in the family name until Heaven Hill purchased it in 1993; the bottle has stayed in Heaven Hill’s core lineup since, though it is no longer made in a log. (No age statement is offered.)

And now the tasting: At first, Dant seems promising. A fresh, neat pour offers up traces of orange, spices, and a bit of smoke on the nose; ideal for cocktails for the forthcoming autumn season. The first sip and swish ease in with a bit of the usual suspects: vanilla, caramel, and oak, but then follow up with an absolute knockout punch of heat and alcohol which linger until the (somewhat) short, oaky finish. Nothing really changes much over the duration of a glass. It mellows with a bit of ice, but the song remains the same.

Overall it’s not an unpleasant experience, but definitely not a stand-up memorable tasting event either. It’s a bit like that very odd dating situation where things went fine and nothing went wrong, but considering the field is wide open and plenty of options remain available, a second date might happen only with a bit of reluctance. Heaven Hill would be well served in re-tooling the brand to compete on a pedigree with other big names like Stagg, Parker’s, and Booker’s. It’s the least it can do for a man who contributed much to the advancement of bourbon. He certainly deserves the consideration.

B / $18 / no website

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5 Responses

  1. george October 4, 2013 / 6:35 pm

    You might try the Bottled-in-Bond variety of Dant. I find it a very good bourbon flavor. Has to be at least 4 years old for the BIB version.

  2. Rob Theakston October 6, 2013 / 1:28 pm

    I most certainly will keep an eye out for it. I’m based in KY, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to stumble upon. Perhaps that could be the start of the re-branding idea? Probably not..but nevertheless thanks for the tip!

  3. BOB D`HERDE November 14, 2015 / 12:58 pm

    Where can I purchase a case of JW DANT Bottled in bond?

    • BOB D`HERDE November 16, 2015 / 11:27 am

      where can I purchase a case of j w dant bottled in bond.

  4. Tyler April 27, 2016 / 10:19 pm

    If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon bottles that say distilled and bottled at DSP-KY-31 and not distilled at dsp-ky-1 and bottled at dsp-ky-31 then the juice in them is pre-fire Heaven Hill juice.

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