Jefferson’s Very Small Batch Review

Jefferson's Very Small Batch Review

Jefferson’s Very Small Batch bourbon is put out by Castle Brands under the Jefferson’s name and unlike a lot of shifty shady NDPs out there they actually disclose that they don’t make the whiskey in their bottles. They also don’t make you search for that information, they place it right upfront in big letters so there’s no mistaking what they’re doing:

“We seek out new and aged barrels of bourbon from established distilleries that have perfected their art over hundreds of years. Then we do some old-fashioned experimenting, building balance and adding complexity through different selection, agitation and environmental processes until we find the taste Jefferson’s is known for.”

That disclosure is just one of the reasons I’ve been a fan of Jefferson’s for a while now. Instead of trying to play that cat and mouse game of hiding the fact that they didn’t distill it they focus their time and attention on the whiskey. Like High West they focus on putting out the best batches of whiskey they can, which is exactly how it should be. I don’t care if you didn’t distill it yourself so long as you don’t lie about it and you put out a good product at a fair price.

Jefferson’s Very Small Batch Info

Region: Kentucky, USA

Bottler: Jefferson’s
Cask: New charred oak
Age: NAS
ABV: 41.15%

Batch: 322
Bottle: 0329

Price: $26

Jefferson’s Very Small Batch Review

EYE
Light caramel

NOSE
Soft and sweet with notes of bourbon spice, vanilla, caramel, dark fruit, honey and citrus peel with a touch of anise and fruit compote. It’s on the lighter/sweeter side of bourbon and in some ways it reminds of a wheater.

PALATE
Slightly richer and denser than the nose, but still on the light side, the palate is layered with notes of burnt caramel, cinnamon heavy spice, dark fruit leather, honey soaked baklava, pie crust and a touch of wood.

FINISH
Long and woody with notes of caramel syrup, spice, vanilla, biscuits and some astringency. The finish might be the strongest part of this whiskey.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Not totally balanced with the sweet overpowering the savory, medium body and a light soft texture.

OVERALL
Jefferson’s Very Small Batch isn’t bad, but it’s not very exciting either. Even though the palate is a bit richer than the nose neither one is really powerful and it’s the finish on this batch that’s the most interesting aspect. Despite being a rather light whiskey in general what’s there is pleasant.

Jefferson’s Very Small Batch is cheap, light, smooth, and manages to retain a decent character. If you’re looking for something new to try in the low-mid $20s this would definitely fit the bill. Just don’t expect a whole lot from it, or at least don’t expect a whole lot from this particular batch if you come across it.

SCORE: 81/100

Jefferson’s Very Small Batch Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 81
  • Palate - 81
  • Finish - 83
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 79

Summary

Jefferson’s Very Small Batch is a light, basic, no frills bourbon that fills a niche. Worth a taste and if you’re looking for something cheap that looks good on the shelf then I’d recommend grabbing a bottle of this.

Jefferson's Very Small Batch Label

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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9 Responses to Jefferson’s Very Small Batch Review

  1. I like this one. Despite being on the “light” side, it still has some great character. I get a great dried apricot note from this one and often catch myself sniffing the empty glass for a while after it’s gone. I reach for this when I’m in the mood for something I don’t have to concentrate on. It’s a good “book reading/tv watching” pour. Know some one who’s looking to get into whiskey? This would be a good starter. There’s always a bottle of this in my cabinet.

    • Pretty apt evaluation, i’ve recommended this one as a starter to many a new drinker successfully. Very approachable bourbon overall, and though I agree that it’s on the boring side, that’s almost what makes it so easy to drink in every way.

  2. Batch No. 497
    Bottle No. 8470

    This is, bar none, the least enjoyable burbon I’ve tasted. Flat, dull, and bland with balanced notes of tap water and dish soap do not an enjoyable sipping whiskey make… I”ve given it three tries on three very different occasions, all disappointing. I’m debating whether to even keep the rest of the bottle around for the summer to mix in a big batch of lemonade for the pool or for adding to barbecue sauce. A real let down for me, even at less than $30 a bottle.

  3. I found this to be bland and colorless. An ice cube proved to be fatal. You can get two bottles of Evan Williams and a big can of salted nuts for what this costs, and you’ll be happier. There are a number of much better bourbons is this price range – Bulleit, Buffalo Trace to name a couple.

    • While I obviously enjoy this one more than you, I definitely agree that ice totally kills it. Would love to try this one at 90-100 proof…of course that would also make the cost go up.

  4. This rates much higher for me. It’s a light textured bourbon, but has fantastic flavors you don’t often taste all the time. It has a wonderful light fruitiness not often associated with Kentucky Bourbon. For me its a wonderful bottle to introduce those interested in seeing the different sides of Kentucky bourbon. It’s quality and unique tasting notes make it very much one of its own kind. 87/100. But I was born and raised in Kentucky and can’t say I’ve had a bad bourbon from Kentucky. Heck even Evan Williams black label can have a spot on my shelf rather than a ‘bourbon’ made in New York or Colorado claiming to be something it’s not. Bourbon is a Kentucky thing. It’s the water. These other folks need to create a clever name of their own. You don’t see Tennessee distilleries claiming it’s bourbon. It’s the water, the generations of family heritage and quality in the great State of Kentucky that make our whiskies bourbon. With the marketing age we keep seeing these distilleries trying to market their whiskey as bourbon only trying to make money on the name.

    • I hear what you’re saying, but Bourbon is an American product not a Kentucky product. There was a time when hundreds of distilleries dotted America and killer bourbon was being made all over the US, mot notabley in Peoria, IL, and today you have tremendous bourbon being made in Indiana now. If you went back to when the Kentucky distilleries were first stating up they’d likely be no where near how good they are now. What you’re seeing is new distilleries starting and putting out whiskey before they have decades of distilling and huge warehouses of well aged backstock.

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