When you hear, “bourbon,” do you think of Detroit, Michigan? Prior to the Volstead Act of 1920, many distillers based their operations out of Detroit, utilizing the water from the Great Lakes. However, once Prohibition hit, many of those distillers chose to take their whiskey operations to our neighbors of the north.
Two James Spirits, the first distillery to open in Detroit after prohibition, decided to revive the Grass Widow brand with the help of Hall of Famer, Dave Pickerell.
Grass Widow is a high rye bourbon finished in Madeira casks. This bourbon is sourced from MGP and does not include an age statement. The mashbill is made up of 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley.
On the nose, I am picking up sweet oak and roasted almonds. I am picking up a note that reminds me of fig newtons. It definitely has an interesting nose.
The palate brings both, sweetness and spiciness to the table. The “fig newton” sweetness is there. More of a candied sweetness but also slight dark fruit sweetness. The spice comes through somewhat strong for only being 45.5% abv (91 proof).
The finish is short and has more of a spicy oak presence.
I think this bourbon is slightly above average but the uniqueness brings it up a little further. Finishing the bourbon in Madeira casks brings some unique flavors that aren’t typically in bourbon. This bottle was gifted to me from some friends so I am not sure of the exact price point but the amounts I see through online retailers might not be worth it. This reminds me of a Jefferson’s Ocean in a sense that it provides a pretty cool story to share with guests. It also gives them an option that they might not have heard of before. If you are in the Detroit area, I would definitely encourage you to check out the Two James distillery and try it for yourself! Cheers!