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This New Bourbon Was Made From Casks Exposed to Intense Heat—and It’s Stellar

We’ve covered Texas bourbon before, highlighting the effects the Lone Star State’s climate has on whiskey brands like Garrison Brothers. Now there’s a new bourbon blend out from fellow Texas distillery Milam & Greene that also proves just how unforgiving those Texas summers are, with more than two-thirds of the whiskey in some barrels lost due to evaporation.

By law, bourbon must be aged in new charred oak containers (which are virtually always barrels). While there is no minimum age requirement, straight bourbon spends at least two years in oak, and most distilleries age their whiskey for more than twice that amount of time. In Scotland, you can age a whisky for a decade with a very low angel’s share, or evaporation rate, because of the cooler, milder climate. But in states like Kentucky, Tennessee, and especially Texas, there are some very thirsty angels. Which brings us to the new Unabridged Volume 2: A Blend of Straight Bourbon Whiskies from Milam & Greene, a cask-strength blend of sourced and in-house distilled bourbon, some of which was aged for years in the Texas heat.

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Milam & Greene’s CEO and master blender, Heather Greene, was recently recognized as master blender of the year at the Women of Whiskey (WOW) Awards, an accolade that this writer turned whiskey maker has clearly earned. This new release of Unabridged is a blend of just 56 barrels distilled in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Texas that was bottled at 117.6 proof. The barrels ranged from 16-year-old Tennessee bourbon to a two-year-old Texas bourbon made using malted rye in the mashbill.

According to Greene, some of the casks lost 68 percent of the liquid from evaporation. “The seven-year old casks from Tennessee spent two to three years in high heat, which led to a to a ton of evaporation plus richness,” she told Robb Report. “We have extreme drought and heat in the Hill Country… The oldest (16-year-old casks) were partially aged in Tennessee, then came to Texas where we had to vat them into a holding tank for a year to stop the aging. They spent some time in the heat and drought, and we were going to lose them if we didn’t use them because they were getting richer and more tannic by the second.”

Unabridged Vol. 2 is a limited release of just 800 cases (SRP is $95 per bottle), and it’s available nationwide at select retailers or from the Milam & Greene website. The whiskey is part of the 2023 Blender’s Reserve Collection, which will also include future releases of Very Small Batch 2 Bourbon and Vintage Castle Hill Series, Batch 3. You can also find other whiskeys, like the Single Barrel Bourbon, available to purchase from Drizly now.

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