Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
An early analysis of O.H. Ingram River Aged Flagship Straight Bourbon Whiskey and my mind immediately drifts to Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty’s song – Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man… We get together every time we can, this Mississippi River can’t keep up apart!. This mighty river doesn’t only keep lovers apart, but also holds rich history and is home to a floating barrel house.
Stationed on the Mississippi in Ballard County, Kentucky, you will find a former barge turned home for whiskey barrels. As Hank Ingram, Proprietor, perfectly sums it up, “Our whiskey barrels are exposed to the constant rise and fall of the river. When coupled with the river’s climate of humidity and its temperature swings, our whiskey literally never stops working.”
Fascinated with the floating rickhouse, I reached out to O.H Ingram asking about their barrel capacity. They were delighted to share, “Our first barge currently houses 2,000 barrels at any given time. We’ve recently christened a second barge that has a 3,000 barrel capacity, so we will have close to 5,000 barrels stored by the middle of 2023!”
Similar to all other barrel houses, the environmental formula for perfect aging is temperature and humidity. With O.H Ingram River Whiskey, an additional element is added, motion. In this region, the temperature swings from high heat during the day to chilly evenings, leading to temperatures in the whiskey barge as high as 124 degrees and as cool as 75 degrees. Located directly on the river, the humidity from the river keeps the barrels moist and slows down the evaporation of whiskey (also known as Angel’s Share – oh well, more for us!).
As for the river itself, the motion that takes place is from the constant rise and fall of the river, along with daily boat traffic that runs up and down the Mississippi River. This is a special case where rocking the boat makes way for something marvelous. While this movement may seem subtle, the whiskey truly is dancing its way in, out, and around every nook and cranny inside the barrel.
With this second annual Flagship River Aged Bourbon I’m reviewing, it was produced from a blend of 8 mid-rye bourbon barrels. It is meant by the brand to showcase their bourbon at is best, with the term Flagship being “reserved for the most impressive vessel in a fleet.”
Tasting Notes: O.H. Ingram River Aged Flagship Straight Bourbon
Vital Stats: 100 Proof. Unknown age statement and mash bill. $99.00 for a 750ml bottle.
Appearance: A waterfall of legs dance down the edge of my glass. A welcoming color of auburn with henna notes.
Nose: High proof whiskeys can be sharp and scratch the nostrils, but this one is gentle. I didn’t shy away and left my nose in my Glencairn glass, breathing it all in. A generously herbed piece of steak makes a debut. It is heavy herb mixture of bay leaf, thyme and oregano that come to the forefront- it’s an herb bouquet. As my mind marinates over the surprising hello, this is after all a bourbon. Classic, but elevated, warm notes of brown butter salted caramel brownie soothes the sense, while a whisper of coffee and vanilla also slip into the picture to tease.
Palate: Fresh out of the oven cinnamon rolls leaves you salivating for that warm dough texture. Mouthfeel continues to slightly dry out the tongue, and the overall medium length time of peak flavors towards the final finish is surprising for a 100 proof. It is but a reason though to be reaching for more to explore and relive the feast of delightful comforting flavors. Apricot jam atop of angel food cake and the tang from a pinch of lemon zest is the focus. Then the final finish is candied hazelnuts with a sprinkle of chili powder.