Etna’s Denny Bar Co. is both a restaurant and a distillery. On Saturday, November 13th, they released their first bourbon. Since it was my 62nd birthday I considered the event auspicious, and we scooted over to the Scott Valley to get some of the local spirit.
Denny Bar has previously produced small batches of whiskey, gin, and vodka. But bourbon is not just whiskey. It is a particular kind of whiskey. What kind, you ask? The answer is as simple as A-B-C.
Bourbon must be made in America. It does NOT have to be from Kentucky. That’s a common myth. Anywhere in the US of A will do, and that includes Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
Bourbon must be barrel-aged. Specifically, it must be matured in charred oak barrels. And they must be new oak. The old casks get sent to Scotland—they like their whisky to have a less woody character.
Bourbon must be made from corn. Specifically, the grain mixture has to be at least 51% maize. Barley, wheat, and rye are common ingredients in the grist.
Denny Bar calls their bourbon Heart’s Creed and it is listed as four years old and 94 proof (47% abv). The tasting notes tell of “saddle leather” in the nose, “caramel and burnt honey” on the palate, and “smokey butterscotch” in the finish.
Your mileage may vary, but I will say that Heart’s Creed is a smooth, rich, and full-flavored spirit. They did a superb job and crafted an excellent drink. They seem to encourage drinking it on the rocks, but we preferred it neat. A little splash of water perhaps, but no more.
I understand there were only 300 bottles produced and that means 298 for the rest of you. We were very impressed by the quality, complexity, and quaff-ability of Heart’s Creed bourbon whiskey. If you can get your hands on some we highly recommend it.