Walker’s Cay — complete with a marlin on the label — sure does sound like a rum. Surprise: It’s bourbon, made in Kentucky, finished with sherry cask staves, and bottled by King Spirits in Owensboro, KY.
The owner of King Spirits is Steven Busch, the son of August Busch III, and clearly more of a spirits guy than a beer guy. In addition to a vodka, the company markets this bourbon, which is “inspired by time Steven spent with his Dad on the water and the family’s passion for saltwater fishing, especially in The Bahamas. As a result, the company proudly makes donations and will contribute a portion of profits from both brands to charities that directly help the Bahamian citizens.”
The whiskey is produced by Green River Distilling, which we’ve covered previously, and is made from a mash of 70% corn, 21% rye, and 9% malted barley. No age statement is offered, but note the whiskey is finished on “sherry staves,” not in sherry casks.
The results are surprisingly good for what appears to be (and which, given the youth of Green River, really has to be) a young spirit — and which costs under $40. A nose of popcorn, butterscotch, and a touch of cashew butter start things off in line with expectations — moving into traditional notes of peanut shell and caramel corn with a little time in glass. There’s no real hint of the sherry stave finishing on the nose, but the palate sees it sneaking in a bit. A hint of oxidized wine and notes of plums plus a layer of mixed currants and blackberries give the whiskey an unexpected fruitiness here. Then there’s a healthy layer of oak, more butterscotch, caramel sauce, and a hint of strawberry, all of which endure on a nicely rounded and medium length finish. There’s certainly a popcorny/peanuty youth here throughout, but Walker’s Cay knows how to work with it and does its best with the raw ingredients. I’d have no qualms using this as a mixer — or as an occasional sipper, even.
B+ / $37