Revisiting: Blue Note Juke Joint Whiskey

Straight Bourbon Whiskey

MASH BILL – 70% corn, 21% rye, 9% barley

PROOF – 93

AGE – 3+ years

DISTILLERY – Big River Distilling (sourcing from KY)

PRICE – $38 (includes shipping)


Back in early 2020 I was sent sample bottles of Big River Distilling’s Blue Note Juke Joint Bourbon as well as their Riverset Rye. By some error, a couple weeks later another set of sample bottles arrived. I’d enjoyed the first, so, great!

Since then I’ve also picked up additional Big River Distilling bottles, including cask strength store pick releases of both the Riverset Rye and Blue Note. Riverset is an excellent rye, and Blue Note a similarly excellent bourbon. Both are as price friendly as they are palate friendly. They aren’t readily available in my area, so I must order them from out of state. But it’s worth the few extra bucks for shipping to have these easy, tasty sippers on hand.

I opened this bottle of Blue Note at a weekend BBQ with a small handful of friends, for use in some bougie Bourbon & Cokes: 1.5oz Blue Note, 0.5oz Amaro Nonino, 4oz Olipop Vintage Cola, on ice with a lemon wedge. They were a hit. Since then I’ve continued to enjoy it on its own.

And here we are, a week after uncorking and a bit over halfway through the bottle. These brief notes were taken using a traditional Glencairn.

COLOR – a range of nice toasty oranges, from bright to caramelly

NOSE – rye spices, black pepper and dry cinnamon sticks, dry oak, faint fresh red cherries and cherry pie syrup, white sugar frosting on a cinnamon roll

TASTE – syrupy, the red cherries and black pepper right up front, caramelized sugar frosting, oak

FINISH – the cherry steps back behind the oak, a thin but nice caramel note floats in the background

OVERALL – solid, bright, sweet and oaky

Left unfiltered, despite its young age there is some richness here, and very nice oak notes. The cherry aspects keep things sweet, alongside those frosting and caramel notes.

The mash bill isn’t one I can easily tie to a particular distillery. Other brands source it as well—e.g. Broken Barrel, Chicken Cock, Green River. Could be something made specifically to source out. If it’s reminiscent of anything for me (as of this tasting, at least) I might guess Four Roses for the particular quality of the oak aspect. But that guess means nothing. If I didn’t know from the label the source was in Kentucky, I’d likely have guessed MGP given the herbal rye-spice notes, which remind me of certain MGP ryes and bourbons… 🤷🏼‍♂️

Perfectly good for sipping. Great for mixing. If you see Blue Note on the shelf, or are ordering some bottles online and want to spread the shipping charge over another bottle, it’s a legit bourbon. It’s neither demanding nor boring, very easy yet never dull. I wish I had a piece of cherry pie right now to go with it, at a picnic table in an oak grove!


Bonus Track

Tennessee Waltz

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