Cardinal Spirits Bourbon
60% Yellow corn - Glick Seed, Columbus, IN
20% Malted 6-row barley - Sugar Creek, Lebanon, IN
10% Rye - Sugar Creek, Lebanon, IN
10% Wheat - Glick Seed, Columbus, IN
An interview with Justin Hughey, our head distiller, about this bourbon
How long have you been with Cardinal?
Since Cardinal Spirits opened in February 2015.
So tell me about this bourbon.
It's Cardinal Spirits' first bourbon, but also Bloomington's first bourbon, and we're proud of that. It is made with 4 grains from Indiana farmers: corn and wheat from Glick in Columbus, and barley and rye from Sugar Creek Malt Company in Lebanon. It was aged in a new American Oak barrel. This bourbon is distinctly Indiana.
How did you know when the bourbon was ready?
When I tasted it a month or so ago, I knew it was ready.
We don't have a schedule for releasing our barrels. I frequently sample them and let flavor and quality be the guide. Nobody tells me to release the barrels; they are ready when I say they are.
How long did the bourbon age?
About a year and two months. The important thing to note is that we do not have any bourbon that is older than our distillery. Some distilleries choose to buy bourbon from elsewhere and simply bottle it, and that's how they get away with selling a spirit that's older than they are. But we don't buy any of our spirits. It's all fermented, mashed, distilled and bottled on site at Cardinal Spirits.
When will you release more barrels?
We don't have a schedule. I'll keep checking in with them. You know good bourbon when you taste it, and I'll wait for that taste.
What's interesting is that we filled 12 barrels from the same cooperage with the same mash bill at the same time. And we've got 12 different-tasting bourbons. Barrel #9 is wonderful right now, and the others will be ready on their own time.
What does it taste like?
You'll notice a pleasant corn sweetness first, then a nice, rich mouthfeel, and a peppery finish. Some bourbons just taste like corn; ours is more interesting and finishes strong.
Because of the high-quality mash bill, it stands up against any big-name bourbon.
How many bottles will you get out of this barrel?
About 170 bottles that are 375ml. It's a small batch, and when it's gone, it's gone. We expect it to sell out quickly.
How do you recommend drinking it?
It's nice on it's own. So you can drink it neat, but it's your bottle - drink it how you want.