Pinhook Bohemian Bourbon (Crop 2020) Scoresheet & Review

If you’re part of an up and coming whiskey brand, then it’s important to know how to stand out. This is doubly so given the whiskey market (American whiskey especially) is one that seems to get increasingly crowded every day. Pinhook, which previously sourced their whiskey from MGP, seem to be aware of this, as evidenced by their home page:

“…Pinhook sees each set of barrels as a new crop, shaped by the natural variations in the ingredients and the elements. Working in small batches, we craft each vintage to express the best whiskey rather than the same whiskey…”

So rather than aspiring to achieve consistency, Pinhook see each new release as an opportunity to say “this is what I got.” Another small distinguishing factor for Pinhook goes back to their whiskey source. They’re now contract distilling through Castle & Key, which should excite most bourbon history nuts out there. The history behind this location can’t be understated, but what ultimately matters most is how good the final product is. Rather than buying a fifth of this, I found a 200ml bottle for about $13, which made taking a chance on it a bit easier. Time to see what Pinhook’s 2020 crop of Bohemian Bourbon has to offer.

Nose: Lightly sweet, floral, and a bit savory. Orange peel and brown sugar backed up with a touch of lemon zest, mint, and pepper. Despite its slightly candy-like corn sweetness, the rye grain has ample influence. Hints of macadamia nuts throughout.

Palate: Brown sugar, corn, light honey, and caramel followed by pepper spice and lemon citrus. Candied nuts. Rye comes up with the evident youth. Some ethanol with the lemon. A little orange crops in after a few sips, matched by a sliver of grassiness.

Finish: Light and on the short side. Pepper, rye spice, and almond/cashew blend. Speckles of brown sugar here and there.

I have to go off on a tangent to help express my thoughts on this. If you’re unfamiliar with the videogame Destiny, it was a massively hyped sci-fi “shared world” shooter with an emphasis on cooperative play. The first game launched in a state that could be described as underbaked between its contentious leveling system, borderline nonexistent storytelling, overly repetitive mission design, and more. It got way better a year after release, and despite more roadblocks along the way, has remained an easy game to turn to for a wide variety of gamers.

I mention Destiny because I think Pinhook Bohemian Bourbon is in a similar position to Destiny when it launched. The quote that comes to mind is “you’re interesting. Not entirely interesting, but…you have promise.” Despite some rough edges, there’s potential that may very well be tapped into down the line. For an expression that’s only around three years old, Bohemian Bourbon boasts a welcoming if unremarkable flavor profile. What surprises me the most is just how much rye influence I get despite said grain comprising only 15% of the mash bill. Between that and the obviously young personality, I think Bohemian Bourbon is best suited for whiskey-forward cocktails. Spending over $40 for a bottle primarily relegated to Old Fashioned+ duty might sound like a diss, but as a Floridian staring down the barrel of Spring and Summer weather, there’s something to be said for a good Old Fashioned. I’ll be curious to revisit this brand in the future.

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