Old Elk Straight Bourbon 109 Proof - Selected by Bourbon Community Roundtable
Barrel #: BBNCOMTLBAR
Proof: 109 Proof
Mash Bill: 51/15/34 Corn/Rye/Malted Barley
Bottle Count: 198 bottles
Tasting Notes: Big league chew. The nose is fruity sweet. It's a really interesting note a watermelon or cantaloupe. It's backed up by a little dark brown sugar and rose water. The palate carries over a little bit of the melon note. It quickly dries up with toasted graham cracker and white pepper. The finish is long. It's juicy fruit gum and cinnamon.
Story: In January, the Bourbon Community Roundtable (Breaking Bourbon, Bourbon Pursuit and myself) "BCR" made out way out to Colorado to visit Old Elk. This was only the third time we selected barrels as a group. What we found didn't disappoint! The heart of the Old Elk story starts with Master Distiller Greg Metze. Greg is the former Master Distiller of Midwest Grain Products Ingredients (MGPi). Calling him a "master" of the craft is an understatement. After spending a couple of days tasting and chatting with Greg you quickly realize that he's probably forgotten more about whiskey making then I will ever know or understand. All praise aside, Old Elk started at MGPi. They started by recruiting Metze to create a custom mash bill for their bourbon. With instructions to create a flavorful, smooth bourbon without sparing any expense Metze got creative.
"I knew from experience, to get smooth and easy, I had to get the malted barley content in that bourbon mash bill up. And throughout my whole career, all the mash bills I produced always had some degree of rye, to give you that spice characteristic, which takes a minimum of 15 percent. From there, it was reverse math. I took the minimum corn content for a bourbon—51 percent—factored in the 15 percent rye that I needed for that spice characteristic, and that left me room for 34 percent malted barley."
After creating the first Old Elk mash bill, the OE team worked on the bigger task. That was to pull Metze away from the company and distillery he'd been at for 38-years! Thankfully he saw the vision of the Old Elk team and joined them full time in 2017.
About: Old Elk is a new wave of distillers. They started by sourcing from MGP. They brought on Master Distiller, Greg Metze, as a consultant. Then, Greg moved on from MGP and joined Old Elk full-time as their Master Distiller. They now have a mix of sourced and distilled products. Old Elk produces around 150 barrels a year at their Fort Collins, CO location.