Review: American Freedom Distillery Horse Soldier Bourbon – Complete Lineup

Review: American Freedom Distillery Horse Soldier Bourbon – Complete Lineup

Horse Soldiers? American Freedom? If you’ve pegged a military connection to this new whiskey brand, you’ve got your finger on the pulse. The distillery was started by a group of Special Forces Veterans who were the first soldiers in Afghanistan after 9/11. Horse Soldier is a reference to the Green Berets who were featured in the movie 12 Strong.

As for Horse Soldier (the whiskey), the distillery distills its own juice in Columbus, Ohio (using a partner distillery while its own facility is being built), curiously choosing to use two different mashbills in the process: one with rye, one with wheat. The company also has a 12 year old bottling, which is sourced, and recently added a rum to its production.

Today we’re looking at the three bourbons which comprise the bulk of its whiskey lineup. Thoughts follow.

American Freedom Distillery Horse Soldier Bourbon Whiskey – (White label.) 70% corn, 20% red winter wheat, 10% barley; no age statement. Big cereal and lumberyard aromas evoke young craft whiskey, with hints of red pepper and a modest menthol note adding some nuance. The palate is sultry and slightly smoky, a bit green at times but spiked with notes of dark chocolate and hazelnut, both of which also add some intrigue. The barrel char character makes a big return on the finish, along with a slight furniture polish note. It’s a credible craft bourbon, but nothing too far from the straight and narrow. 95 proof. B / $60 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

American Freedom Distillery Horse Soldier Premium Straight Bourbon Whiskey – (Copper label.) 65% corn, 30% rye, 5% barley; aged at least two years. A much more approachable whiskey from the start. The wood is dialed back and restrained on the nose and the whiskey’s fruit character is pumped up, with plum, cherry, and grape must notes all evident. The palate is both fruity and nutty in roughly equal proportion, and a heavy dose of spice and a grind of black pepper add some fun. The finish sees wood and leather slowly emerging more clearly, though it never falls too far out of balance. Horse Solder Premium may not be overwhelmingly complex, but it is an easy drinking and overall enjoyable whiskey. 87 proof. A- / $40

American Freedom Distillery Horse Soldier Barrel Strength Bourbon Whiskey – (Silver label.) Back to the 70% corn, 20% red winter wheat, 10% barley mashbill; again, no age statement. This is a barrel proof version of the first whiskey reviewed above. As expected, it’s a bit of a blazer without water, a fireball of cinnamon spice, red pepper, and smoldering lumber on both nose and palate. Bringing it down to a more approachable proof, well, brings it more in line with standard Horse Soldier, again showcasing plenty of wood, with a nutty, chocolate-laced, Butterfinger-like character adding some fun to the experience. Ultimately it’s a slightly more nuanced whiskey than the standard expression, but the higher proof does give you a bit more flexibility to toy with and to coax out some slightly different elements. 111 proof. B+ / $95 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

American Freedom Distillery Horse Soldier Barrel Strength Bourbon Whiskey




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  1. Rob on November 9, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    Serious, not worth the money. For $95 I expected something much smoother. Tastes terrible and smells like lighter fluid. I tried mixing it with coke to mask the taste…I guess if you just want to get drunk, take shots of this. As a bourbon in neat or on-the-rocks form; definitely cheaper alternatives. JD Single Barrel is half the price and much smoother, Knobb Creek or Basil Haydens.

  2. Kevin on February 4, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    Seriously Christopher. I totally agree with Rob. I thought the smell and taste were more like what I would expect jet fuel would taste like. it certainly smells like it. I was hoping that it would be better, because the story is so compelling. I don’t know where the juice is sourced from, but obviously somebody doesn’t know how to make bourbon. I give it a one out of 10, and that’s being generous.

    • Christopher Null on February 4, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      Interesting, I look forward to tasting it again to see if there is significant batch variation that might explain the discrepancies.

  3. Chad on March 1, 2020 at 10:56 am

    I have imbibed a bunch of this stuff (It’s everywhere in St. Pete) and honestly I think the small batch is much more drinkable than the barrel strength. In fact I keep it in my rotation at home.

  4. John on October 18, 2020 at 4:22 am

    I rather enjoy this Bourbon. As a retired Army Ranger I try to go out of my way to support Veteran owned companies. While I’m not a big fan of the White label, the Copper and Silver offer a fine drink. With a little bit of a spicy with some heat taste at first, I added a splash of water and those deep, rich fruit flavors popped right out. Adding coke or anything else to this, is a Damn shame.

  5. Robert Baumann on November 6, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    Drinking the Barrel Strength tonight. Oak and pepper smell, smoke on the back. Very nice and smooth for a 114.
    Would like to know where the labels are made. Very nice label for a bottle made in molds from the twin towers. What an honor for the supplier.
    The 94 proof is very nice as well
    I have the 87 proof to try at a later date.
    Thank you for your service

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