When I first heard of Tom’s Foolery Bourbon, I thought, wow, that’s inappropriate. But then I looked into it and discovered that Tom’s Foolery isn’t a chain that hosts birthday parties for small children but a small, craft distillery in Ohio. Normally the words “craft distillery” fill me with horror—some of my least positive (or most negative, if you prefer) experiences with American whiskey have come courtesy craft distilleries (ye olde Balcones, Seven Stills, Coppersea and Koval, for example). But I was charmed by their low-tech website and by the fact that they say that their products are for “hard-working people, for adventurers, and for dreamers”—all three of those are things I pretend to be while I lie on my couch, mindlessly reloading the same sequence of websites every hour of every day of the week. Do I dare try this bourbon these fine hard-working, adventurous dreamers have put out? I dasn’t not! Especially since it’s actually four years and not four months old and they are not shamelessly charging the earth for it.
Sku, the source of this sample, has more useful information on the distillery, and on what bonded bourbon is, if you like that kind of thing.
Tom’s Foolery, Bonded Bourbon, Batch 1 (50%; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Sour wood, vinegar; some pine resin as well and some mint. There’s some other fruit lurking behind as well but it has a tough time making it past the sour wood, which now has an edge of water damage. Some cold tea as well. With a lot of time and air there’s some milk chocolate. Water pushes the sour wood back
Palate: Well, there’s the sour wood and vinegar; it’s joined here by a leafy, vegetal quality—somehow they work well together. The wood’s a little sharper on the second and third sip. Okay, let’s give it some time to breathe. After about 15 minutes in the glass there’s, well, there’s some sour wood and vinegar but it’s mellower now and mintier too. Mellower still with water and there’s some pepper now too.
Finish: Long. The wood gives way here to the mint and cold tea. As on the palate with water.
Comments: Well, this turned out better on the palate than I thought it would from the first impressions on the nose but it’s nothing I’m going to go out of my way to drink again. It’s not terrible (and it’s better with water, I’d say) but it’s also not very good. If you’re into American whiskey and need something new this could be worth a look, but for me there’s a lot more regulation stuff that I haven’t yet got to that I suspect will be much better. Someone keep me posted if later batches are better.
Looking at Sku’s notes, I see that he says this improved a lot after the bottle had been open for a while. I assume he poured this sample for me after the improvement he notes had taken place. If so, I’m very grateful he didn’t give me a fresh pour from the newly opened bottle.
Rating: 78 points.
Thanks to Sku for the sample!