Heartland Distillers, makers of Spring Mill Bourbon, is a distillery out of Indiana which first got attention in 2012 when Stuart Hobson, founder and master distiller, partnered with Matt Colglazier, vice president of merchandising with Indiana alcohol retailer Big Red Liquors, to make a spirit out of Sorghum, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.
Details on the whiskey itself are somewhat limited, but the product description does indicate that corn and rye are the primary ingredients along with “a bit of malted barley.” As per usual with bourbon, it’s aged in new, charred American oak barrels, but a portion of this whiskey was pulled and aged in an additional set of new American oak barrels.
Heartland doesn’t specify how long either of the aging processes went, but the final product comes out to 90 proof. It is also not clear if they are the source distillery for this spirit, or if they sourced it from somewhere else. The distillery has several numerical series and the one I tasted came from 101, though the distillery gives no details on how this one might be different from the others.
Tasting Notes: Spring Mill Bourbon
Vital stats: Indiana straight bourbon with a mash bill of corn, rye and malted barley. Aged for an unspecified amount of time in new, charred American oak barrels, with a portion aged again in an additional set of barrels. Spring Mill is bottled at 45% ABV and sells for about $26 per bottle depending on location.
Appearance: Spring Mill Bourbon is unusual first off in that it comes in a plain ceramic bottle with naught but the name and distiller in blue and a red label across the bottom. The design is a bit plain and austere, but still appealing in its simplicity – though the bottle is substantially heavier than a typical bottle. Poured into a glass, the whiskey is a touch toward the redder, coppery side of whiskey.
Nose: Right from the start, Spring Mill Bourbon hits a nice a balance of flavors that reminded me of a citrus tart: the sweetness of caramelized sugar at first, followed by a tangy tangerine. After a few moments, the nasal passages get a punch of spicy ginger with a touch of nutmeg evening out the mix.
Palate: As in the nose, the first few drops hit the tongue with the sweetness of a thick, rich caramel. That flavor seems to get richer, creamier, and oakier as it sits on the tongue for a moment before it starts to take on spicy notes – this time dominated by black pepper and cloves instead of ginger. Those spicy notes build relentlessly into a moderate burn as it lingers in the mouth.
Swallowing sends a moderate wave of those spices washing from the throat to the top of the mouth before fading into an oaky caramel essence throughout with a touch of black tea in the background, punctuated with a few flares of clove for the next minute or so. However, the sooner the swallow, the sweeter and more subdued the flavor is overall.