Alright, alright, alright! Sorry. I couldn’t resist. That joke makes way more sense if you know that Matthew McConaughey worked with Eddie Russel of Wild Turkey to create Longbranch. It is no secret, if you’ve tasted it, that they favored Mesquite wood in the process since that is McConaughey’s favorite wood to grill with.
I have had “Celebrity” bourbon before and for the most part, I can see why they need the celebrity to push the product. I have always enjoyed Wild Turkey products so I was very excited to give this a try. I got a chance to originally try this at the distillery, where I also met bourbon legend, Jimmy Russell. Maybe my excitement and my fanboy moment led me to have a better tasting experience with this bourbon. I am excited to go back and give this bottle a fair review and see if it lives up to the quality of the other Wild Turkey products.
Also, thanks to “Pops” for providing this bottle! Cheers!
The very first thing I notice is how approachable this bourbon is. I immediately looked at the proof and noticed that it is only 43% alc./vol. I think it brings a smokiness that isn’t as common in bourbon. There is a spiciness to it that I believe I pick up in other Wild Turkey products. I have never had caramel syrup before, but if I had, I’m sure it would smell like this. The fact that my nose is picking up so many different types of smells, is pretty impressive. The char, smokiness doesn’t remind me of an older bourbon wood char, nor a scotch smokiness. I think the note I’m getting here is more unique than that. I am really curious about which flavors will come through on the palate.
Neat. There first thing that I can taste is the spice. That is followed up by that char, toasted note. The sweeter notes, similar to honey or syrup, I got on the back-end. I can taste typical bourbon flavors such as caramel, vanilla, corn, and spice but there’s something about this bourbon that takes those same flavors in a different direction.
Adding a few drops of water. Adding water enhanced the corn and spice flavors. Even at 43%, it still warmed my chest while drinking it neat. Adding water eliminated that for me.
Adding an ice ball. The ice ball makes this VERY drinkable. The oak and mesquite flavors shine here. The very first thought I had was, this would go great with bbq. I typically drink bourbon neat, but I am really enjoying what the ice is doing to the flavor.
Mixing with Coke. Very good. The char and smokiness were powerful enough to shine through the Coke, but that seems to be it. The other flavors are turned way down now that the Coke is added.
I was honestly surprised at the finish when I first tasted it neat. The proof didn’t come through on the taste but I thought it carried through on the finish. The flavors don’t linger for long but you still get a gentle “Kentucky hug.”
Overall, I still enjoyed this bourbon. I don’t just think it’s good for a “celebrity” bourbon, I think it’s a good bourbon in general. I have seen this bottle for about $40 or so, and although it’s a good bottle, there are a few others that I would reach for first before grabbing this. If I had some friends over and they wanted to try something a little different or something they haven’t had before, I would grab this bottle for sure. I think the flavors are familiar, but the mesquite charcoal definitely puts its own unique twist on those flavors.