The folks at MGP continue the march up-market with their George Remus line of bourbons. The latest, Remus Volstead Reserve, is a commemorative bottling of sorts, meant to observe (but definitely not to celebrate) the 100th anniversary of the official start of National Prohibition with the passage of the Volstead Act. It’s a 14 year old bourbon (the same length of time as Prohibition) and bottled-in-bond. We enjoyed the older Remus Repeal Reserve II release, so let’s see how this one stacks up!
The nose on this bourbon is soft but a little digging reveals rich brown sugar and toffee, clove and candied pecan notes. There’s a touch of orange marmalade in this one too, lightly fragrant oak, and a bit of chai spice. It takes some time to open in the glass, but patience is rewarded. On the palate, there’s a similar airiness, even at 100 proof with an oily, honeyed sweetness and a gently warming heat.
MGP bourbons can sometimes show too much wood influence in my experience, but this is surprisingly well-rounded stuff without any rough, dusty edges. Notes of chewy caramel, vanilla bean, toasted oak, and black cherry maintain a perfectly steady march all the way into a generous finish that shows fading touches of dried fruit and cigar wrapper. It’s no roller coaster of flavor, but what it lacks in that department it more than makes up for in balance. This is the definition of an easy sipper, and a fitting reminder of the tragedy of Prohibition. Why would you ever outlaw this stuff?
Unlike the Remus Repeal Reserve, which is an annual release, Volstead Reserve is a one-time deal limited to 6,000 bottles, so get it while you can.
A- / $200