Review #180 Old Elk Straight Bourbon


Distillery: Sourced from MGP

Proof: 88

Age: 5 Years

Mashbill: 51% Corn, 34% Malted Barley, 15% Rye


BACKGROUND: Old Elk is a distillery that was launched in 2013 in Fort Collins, CO. They were founded by serial entrepreneur Kurt Richardson who also founded Otterbox. When Old Elk was first launched, Curt knew he would source his whiskey. When he went to MGP however, he had a unique ask of then master distiller Greg Metze. Curt did not want a distillate from an existing mashbill, rather he wanted Greg to form his own. The result was Old Elk's flagship whiskey, their Straight Bourbon. In 2016 Metze left MGP after 15 years and joined the Old Elk team full time so that he could experiment with the whiskey during the blending and aging process through a process he calls a slow-proofing process" where he reduces the whiskey from barrel proof to bottle proof by adding water over two - two and a half weeks which is also known as slow-water reduction which helps protect congeners which is the substance outside of the whiskey such as tannins. Since they launched Old Elk has expanded their portfolio to include a straight bourbon, wheated bourbon, rye whiskey, and wheat whiskey.


NOSE: The nose is quite filled with scents of charred oak, deep maple, and some cinnamon. There are also some scents of rye spice and a hint of ethanol. It is a simpler nose that is well balanced and very approachable. (21/25)


PALATE: The whiskey is very soft and easy to drink even at first sip. Similar to the nose, the palate is simple yet enjoyable with flavors of syrupy vanilla, rye spice, cracked pepper, candied brown sugar, and maple. The whiskey has a nice thick syrupy feel to it but is lacking in proof. (33/40)


FINISH: The finish is slightly bitter with notes of raw cacao, all-spice, barrel char, and some caramel. It is medium in length and goes down so smooth you barely feel it. (21/25)


VALUE: Old Elk has a $50 SRP which we think is slightly high at 88 proof. (6/10)


Overall: 81/100


FINAL THOUGHTS: Old Elk Straight Bourbon is a sweet bourbon whiskey that is very very easy to drink. The low proof makes this a great introductory bourbon or for a cocktail. At $50 this one is a tough sell for us given the proof and market. We recommend this whiskey to anyone who likes simple and sweet bourbon at a low proof.


Similar & Slightly Better Whiskey: Michter's US*1 Bourbon

Similar & Equal Whiskey: Hotel Tango Straight Bourbon

Similar & Slightly Worse Whiskey: Traverse City Bourbon


Tell us what you think and give us some feedback


Scoring Legend:

96-100: The perfect dram, juice of the gods

90-95: Near perfect, truly incredible whiskey

85-89: Amazing whiskey, will always try to keep a backup bottle of this

80-84: Very good, some minor flaws here or there

75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink, Will try and keep a bottle on the shelf

70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get this

60-69: Decent, would offer this up to non whiskey drinkers

50-59: Not my cup of tea

Below 50: Give away

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