George Remus, who was given the title of “King of the Bootleggers”, was actually born in Germany before his family moved to Chicago when he was just a child. George followed his father’s footstep and became a pharmacist at the young age of 19, but left the trade in his mid-twenties to become a lawyer, focusing in criminal defense. With the passing of the 18th Amendment and the start of prohibition, George saw many of his criminal clientele grow, and become very rich making and selling bourbon. By using his background as a pharmacist, and his knowledge as a lawyer, George found loopholes in the law to make and sell bonded bourbon for “medicinal purposes” legally, but also organized to have his own product “stolen” by (his own) hijackers, where he then sold his product illegally. George soon moved to the Cincinnati area, where distilleries were plentiful and purchased several to help make his personal secret recipe, and to continue to grow his trade. George grew a 40 million dollar empire where he was known for throwing some of the most extravagant parties people had ever seen. Many believe that it is George Remus that inspired the character Jay Gatsby in the iconic F. Scott Fitzgerald book “The Great Gatsby”.
This bourbon is a 4 yr. old MGP release, their 2nd release under their own branding (last years Metze’s select was their first, a fantastic rye if you can find it), so you know it will be good. It is a 94 proof high-rye blend used to recreate the flavor profile of the iconic George Remus brands of days past.
Nose: Fruit (orange and cherry) with soft rye spice hit up front. Following is a mix of sweetened wood, containing hints of maple and vanilla that present but don’t overtake.
Taste: The sweet vanilla-maple notes from the nose quickly find the front of the tongue, before fading into more of a sweet corn as it walks the tongue towards the mid-pallet. This is where the rye spice grows, but never takes over as rye spice sometimes tends to do (possibly by the vanilla notes that never went away). Arriving late to the party are some subtle hints of chard caramel and notes of pepper, that starts sliding back down towards the front third of the tongue a bit, not so much to the back as in most bourbons, making this one a bit unique.
Finish: A medium finish leaves you a bit unsure if you just enjoyed a sweet rye, or a spicy bourbon, but truth be told, you just enjoyed the best of both. There are some high-priced limited releases that are known for this complex mix of profiles, but are twice the price and in a side-by-side would not distinguish itself from this bourbon at half the cost.
Truth be told I think I would enjoy this bourbon even more then I already do if the proof were just a bit higher (100 proof would be a sweet spot IMO), but that said this is absolutely worth a purchase! I tend to lean towards a high proof, high rye kick to my bourbons, and this gives me just enough of both to keep me interested, yet still provides me a fun sweetness that keeps it in play as an option when I want something a bit softer. If you are into cocktails, I could see this working fantastically in a Old Fashion, so keep this in mind if cocktails is your jam.
Contact us today to reserve your bottle of George Remus Bourbon. Cheers!