Review: Reservoir Distillery Hunter & Scott Bourbon

Review: Reservoir Distillery Hunter & Scott Bourbon

We reviewed the core offerings from Richmond’s Reservoir Distillery back in 2017. Their unique mashbills (all 100% single grain locally sourced) and small barrel aging program made them unique among many craft-whiskey producers at that time. Fast forward three years and Reservoir is probably even more unique today, as many craft distilleries have traded small barrels for standard, 53-gallon options and only a handful have dabbled with single-grain mashbills. According to co-founder Dave Cuttino, the use of single grain expressions means that a Reservoir drinker has the option of vatting their own blend which offers countless possibilities. But for those whiskey drinkers looking for a more conventional flavor profile (and who don’t prefer to blend at home), Reservoir has introduced their own house blends, a bourbon and rye, under the Hunter & Scott label, coined from the co-founders’ middle names.

We recently received the Hunter & Scott bourbon for review. It’s a unique blend of all three Reservoir single grain expressions that equates to a bourbon recipe of 75% corn, 20% wheat, and 5% rye. Although crafted differently, it still adheres to the guidelines for bourbon. The Hunter & Scott line is also younger than the core Reservoir offerings and is aged in a variety of small barrels, some made from Virginia oak. Many of the first releases in 2017 used 5 gallon barrels, but our particular sample from the 2019 release was aged for one year in a 10 gallon barrel. Let’s check it out.

The nose shows its youth with earthy cereal notes, fresh grist, and cornbread batter. The small barrel-aging helps to tame that somewhat with some chocolaty barrel char, toasted cinnamon, and campfire smoke. On the palate, it drinks with surprisingly more maturity. The texture is honeyed. Youthful notes of caramel corn, malt balls, and wood shop don’t linger for long, giving way to rich baking spice, toasted nuts, candied cherry, and orange zest. There’s considerable complexity here for a bourbon this young. By the time the finish arrives, with a respectably long caramel and brown sugar crescendo, I would think I had been drinking a whiskey much, much older.

Classic Kentucky bourbon lovers may find things to nitpick with this one, and that’s why so many craft distilleries have moved to 53 gallon barrels — but Hunter & Scott proves you can get a good bourbon out of a small one.

90 proof. (Reviewed: Batch 10 of 2019)

A- / $40 / 

Reservoir Distillery Hunter & Scott Bourbon




Drew Beard is assistant editor for Drinkhacker and winner of several booze-related merit badges, including Certified Specialist in Spirits and Executive Bourbon Steward. A former federal employee turned hotelier and spirits journalist, he looks forward to his next midlife crisis.


  1. James Mclintock on April 24, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    This is the worst Bourbon I have ever tasted. Look at some reviews on other sites, just God awful. I don’t know if people get paid to give a positive review. But this crap just sucks! I tried mixing it with cheap Canadian, but then I realized I like the cheap Canadian better.

    Do not buy, all the fancy labels and artificial dark color can not make up for absolutely awful quality.

    • Drew Beard on April 29, 2020 at 2:30 pm

      Thanks for sharing, James. Small barrel-aging definitely has its draw backs for plenty of whiskey, and while I can’t speak to any other batches of Hunter & Scott, I did find this one to be surprisingly good at the time of my review. As we often like to say, your mileage may vary, and that’s particularly true for craft spirits which tend to evolve dramatically over time. Oh, and just for the record, Drinkhacker never accepts payment for positive reviews. Cheers!

  2. OG on February 16, 2022 at 9:11 am

    This stuff is complete garbage. The nose reeks of rubber and plastic. The palate hides some of the plastic with the taste of mud and the finish, again rubber. No thanks.

  3. Almighty So on September 2, 2023 at 7:36 pm

    It really good the other reviewers are hating for no reason what y’all drinking this is a solid 7 great buzz and great price

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.