Review: Sam Houston Bourbon 15 Years Old
Sam Houston was an adventurous, self-made patriot and eventually a governor of Texas known for his brutal honesty. The bourbon bearing his name and produced by Three Springs Bottling Company hails from Bardstown, Kentucky. What’s the connection? Nothing, apparently, just that this bourbon is “offered in tribute to the life of Sam Houston.”
A bourbon is the only offering from the brand currently, and the company is taking the model of producing limited annual/semi-annual batch releases. Release No. 1 was a 12 year bourbon released in 2018. In 2019, two more 12 year batches were released as No. 2 and No. 3. 2020 introduced older bourbons with two 14 year olds as Releases No. 4 and No. 5. The follow up in 2021, Release No. 6, is the brand’s first 15 year old bourbon, and is the first release from Sam Houston appearing here on Drinkhacker. Per the company, Release No. 6 was “crafted from specific barrels in a private reserve of premium bourbon.” (One still can’t help but presume that all of this was made from the same stock, but inquiring minds want to know.)
The bottle label provides a bit of information. Release No. 6 is a Bardstown-aged Kentucky straight bourbon with a mashbill of 74% corn, 18% rye, and 8% malted barley, non-chill filtered, aged in #4 charred barrels, bottled from a batch size of 2 to 3 barrels and 103 proof in the bottle.
So let’s get to know Sam Houston by starting with the current end of the line, the 15 year old Release No. 6.
The nose is fairly mild, with softer tones of fruit, nut, and maple, making me think of a morning glory muffin. The palate starts with a peppery spice that pops with occasional spearmint then settles down fairly quickly giving way to bitter leather and a woodsy note that dominates over the subtle caramel sweetness. The finish is clean with soft sweet buttered corn and barley.
The bourbon is more toned down than one would expect for a whiskey aged 15 years, perhaps owing to it’s less-than-aggressive abv, which counters bolder oak or spice notes. It may not be the most interesting amongst its more well-aged peers, but the big corn notes and barley-heavy finish make this an easy sipper. That said, the premium price point may make it hard to justify making this a shelf staple.
103 proof. Reviewed: Batch #6.