Review – Clarke’s 1866 Bourbon
Part of the Aldi-exclusive range of spirits that are making a stir for being tastier than the price tag would suggest, Clarke’s Bourbon is produced by the little-known Clarke’s distillery, apparently since 1866. Not much else about this whiskey is forthcoming, but that’s kind of what you’d expect for a ‘bargain’ brand.
Neat: Much more raw than the nose, the wood in particular isn’t sufficiently well integrated for this to be a smooth experience. Certainly tastes ‘young’ and lacking in depth, but nonetheless with potential. Macerated strawberry and light caramel combine with the sourness of underripe greengage and more cinnamon spice. Not a sipper but nor is it one to avoid at all costs.
Mixing: This whiskey really comes into its own in cocktails, where its youthful brashness pays dividends by adding character to a range of styles. Whilst it certainly isn’t the most complex option in classics such as a Manhattan, nor is it so uncouth to be a realistic option. The result in this case is a sweet and spicy easy-drinking option that is more than respectable. Sour cocktails such as the Whiskey Sour meanwhile reveal the achilles heel of this spirit, the citrus simply overpowering the flavours there to restult in a drink that simple tastes like tart caramel water. Too simple, a la Old Fashioned is not wise either, their isn’t sufficient mid-palate to stand up to such a revealing mixing. Long drinks are the way to go really though; there is enough flavour to shine through, but you don’t feel like it’s a waste. Try a Bourbon Milk Punch, or maybe a fruity Eclipse. It’s even not bad in a Mint Julep, extra mint.
Clarke’s Bourbon is a perfectly repeatable example of a value brand. You wouldn’t call it a treat, but for everyday drinking it’s not bad.
Clarke’s Bourbon is available to buy from Aldi
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.