• Seth

Traverse City Whiskey Barrel Proof Bourbon Review

Sweet and smooth with the complexity of a whiskey twice its age. A winner from TCW.

Type: Straight Bourbon

Distillery: Traverse City Whiskey Co

Proof: 117

Age: NAS

Retail: $75


Dark amber with a bronze tint.


Caramel and a healthy dose of ethanol hit first. Vanilla follows the ethanol. Beyond that I get a bit of rye and leather. There's a bit of a tart fruit undertone, but I can't pin it to one specific fruit.


Caramelized sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, oak, clove, there's a lot to find here! The nose was pleasant, but it did not have me expecting such a complex flavor. The malted barley they used in the mash bill comes through here as well. There's an unmistakable cereal note behind the sweeter flavors and the whole thing wraps up nicely with a kick of rye spice.


This is a medium finish that continues with the sweeter flavors from the palate. I thought this would linger longer than it does based on the proof, but that's not a bad thing and may make it more approachable to those who aren't accustomed to barrel proof options.


With no age statement on my bottle, I assume this must not be much older than 4 years, but it truly does not drink that way. This isn't a one-note wonder. It brings a complexity that you don't typically see in bourbon of this age. This holds up well against other, more established barrel proof options. It features many of the most familiar bourbon characteristics, but the cereal notes and sheer volume of unique flavors going on make it unique at the same time. I really enjoyed this.

This sample was provided at no cost courtesy of Traverse City Whiskey Co.


Thoughts and opinions are my own.



Rating Scale:

This is a general guide of what I consider each score range

4.75 - 5.00: Phenomenal. Hard to imagine anything better. Acquire at any cost.

4.25 - 4.50: Excellent. I'll camp out to get a bottle if necessary.

3.75 - 4.00: Great stuff. I'll buy backups if not too expensive.

3.25 - 3.50: Good stuff. Try to keep one on the bar, but don't spend too much.

2.75 - 3.00: Not bad. I don't regret the purchase but may not buy another.

2.25 - 2.50: Sub-par. I regret the purchase. Reserved for mixed drinks.

1.75 - 2.00: Bad. I'll struggle to finish the bottle. May not want it in cocktails.

0.00 - 1.50: Drain-pour. Something seems wrong with it. Get it away.