Nelson’s Greenbrier Tennessee Whiskey was a pre-prohibition whiskey distilled in Nashville, TN (technically nearby Greenbrier) by German immigrant Charles Nelson. Making the trek to America in 1850 Nelson founded the Nelson’s Greenbrier Distillery some years later and by 1885 was producing 380,000 gallons of whiskey that year (compared to Jack Daniels’ 23,000 gallons at the time) distributing as far as San Francisco and Paris. Nelson died in 1891 and due to prohibition starting in TN in 1909 the distillery closed. Flash forward to 2008 where grandsons of Charles Nelson, Andy and Charlie Nelson took a trip to Greenbrier, TN and happened upon the site of their family’s distilling heritage and decided then and there to revive their distilling tradition. Their current product Belle Meade Bourbon is distilled elsewhere while they plan their distillery, a common practice among smaller new spirit producers. Belle Meade Bourbon is small batch coming from just 4 barrels each release, aged between 5 1/2 to 7 1/2 years and with a high rye mash-bill hand-picked by the Nelson brothers. interesting history on the label, from their website:
The horses on the front label have a history that goes back to the days of the famous Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, Tenn. The horse on the right-hand side of the label is Bonnie Scotland, one of Belle Meade’s leading sires. Some of Bonnie Scotland’s descendants include War Admiral, Man O’ War, Seabiscuit and Secretariat, along with most of the horses that run in the Kentucky Derby today. Appropriately enough, one of Bonnie Scotland’s fillies was named Bourbon Belle. The horse on the left-hand side of the label is Brown Dick, whose great-great grand sire was simply named Whiskey.
Aroma: Slight Spice, honey, Sandalwood, clove and anise with some citrus
Flavor: Rye comes through with expected spice, slight honey sweetness, vanilla
Finish: cinnamon, spice, dried fruit, medium finish
I really would rather be reviewing the product that these two whiskey entrepreneurs will eventually have for us from their own distilling efforts, but today all we have is what they’ve bottled from other’s whiskey stock. I don’t have a problem with it, I just like the idea of drinking what someone produces themself from start to finish. I know this is a common tactic (there are a lot of bourbons sold this way) and I’m not taking away anything from what it takes to get a small distillery going I just would rather know the provenance to the product. That being said I’m a picky asshole a lot of the time and this is pretty good sipping bourbon.
90.4 proof Worth Trying