Sonoma West of Kentucky Bourbon 2 is the wheated mashbill bourbon from Sonoma County Distilling Company. Aged in small barrels for a short period of time it carries that “Craft Whiskey” profile stronger than most young craft whiskeys I’ve had to-date which we’ll get into more in the review below, but first a word from the distiller.
In Sonoma County Distilling’s Words: Sonoma West of Kentucky Bourbon 2
“The grey bridge on this bourbon distinguishes this as a refined, wheated bourbon starting with American yellow corn, followed by wheat as the secondary grain. Aged in new, charred American oak for no less than one year, mellow flavors of vanilla, almond, toffee and butterscotch round out the palate. Drink it neat, or in a classic Whiskey Sour. Cask Strength available. This is is California’s Bourbon Whiskey.”
After prohibition when Stitzel-Weller had to restart from scratch they chose a wheated mashbill because it tasted good at younger ages than a mashbill using rye as the flavor grain. Though that’s not all it takes to make a young whiskey taste good. Grain, milling technique, distilling techniques, wood choice, water and location all play big factors when its young and the raw spirit is shining. More about all of that below in the Sonoma West of Kentucky Bourbon 2 review.
Sonoma West of Kentucky Bourbon 2 Info
Region: California, USA
Distiller: Sonoma County Distilling
Mashbill: Corn, Wheat and Malted Barley
Cask: New Charred Oak (small barrels)
Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Sonoma West of Kentucky Bourbon 2 Review
Raw grain, spirity vanilla, saw dust/craft oak, candy corn, cinnamon, and light bits of motor oil, biscuits and candied lemon.
Raw grain, saw-dust-like young raw wood, spirity vanilla, cinnamon, light biscuits and marzipan.
Medium chalky fade of saw dust, ash, raw grain, artificial butterscotch and biscuits.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Not balanced, medium body and a hot feel.
Let’s cut to the chase, I’m not a fan of the Sonoma West of Kentucky Bourbon 2. The young “craft whiskey” profile of raw wood, raw grain and spirity sweetness dominates to the point I can barely taste anything else. It’s raw, it’s punchy and any other flavors or aromas are so topical and light they disappear the moment you shift your attention. Water only helps a little.
When Stitzel-Weller had to restart after prohibition they put out their Carolina Club 1-month-old bourbon followed by a 3-month-old to get cash flow coming in. They followed that up with a 6-month-old and 1-year-old which was succeeded by an 18-month-old Kentucky Oaks. Versions of these CC & KO whiskies stayed in market until they could release a 4-year-old because they knew what it takes to hit a quality “bourbon character”. Local, small and “new” only takes you so far and doesn’t last forever…
SCORE: 70/100 (C-)
*Disclosure: This Sonoma West of Kentucky Bourbon 2 was graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
Sonoma West of Kentucky Bourbon 2 Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 69
- Palate - 66
- Finish - 67
- Balance, Body & Feel - 66
Sonoma West of Kentucky Bourbon 2 is not my favorite.