Review #8 - The Mattie Gladden
Today I’m diving in to the Mattie Gladden. This bottle comes from Spirits of French Lick in West Baden Springs, Indiana, just a little over an hour drive from Louisville. On a recent trip to Kentucky, fellow Bourbon Underground member Cory Welch and I took the drive to stop by their tasting room and try some of the spirits that Alan Bishop and team are producing.
Named after Madame Martha “Mattie” Gladden, a rumored prominent Madame of Bordellos in both Tennessee and Indiana, this Spirits of French Lick’s bottled in bond, high rye offering is currently only offered at the Spirits of French Lick tasting room, but in the very near future will hit shelves in Kentucky, Indiana, and Missouri with more states to follow shortly. At first glance the label stands out; not only because it’s pretty, but also the amount of information that’s presented. Note to other distillers that will never read this; please start disclosing this amount of information. Nobody is stealing your shit, and it genuinely helps people determine what to look for in age and mashbill so they can buy more.
I cracked this bottle open to take some tasting notes and may have gotten a little impatient in letting it breathe so I could get to my cigar (In my defense it is like 120 degrees outside). I drank out of a glencairn and it may have rested about 2 minutes before I dove in.
Scores are between 1 (drain), 2 (finish but wouldn’t order at a bar), 3 (solid pour), 4 (actively seek out) and 5 (whatever it takes).
Age: 4 years
Mashbill: 55% corn 35% rye 10% victory malt
First impression is green apple sour straws. After a few swirls and closing my eyes I pull out a little bit of peach and vanilla. There’s also a little bit of wood, I want to say cedar. (Later I go back to my sensory kit to cheat and yes, it’s cedar) 3.5
The first sip feels like it’s a little bit lighter than 100 proof. It’s oily and has a medium feel in the mouth. I’m picking up citrus and cinnamon notes. After a swig of water (not adding any) there’s a release of some sweetness like caramel but it also retains the initial baking spices. 4
And….there’s the 100 proof. It’s a medium heat, and I feel like I can taste a bit of youth as sweet corn is predominately what I pick up at first, though the pepper and spices linger after a few breaths. 3
Pause, takes a couple puffs of cigar (The Tabernacle, if you care)
…and suddenly from Palate to Finish everything tastes like cherry jolly rancher. Dammit. Deep breath, try again.
Okay, the nose is the same. More caramel and maple notes than before – I’m biased towards these for sure. No heat on the finish with the cinnamon remaining alongside a maple sweetness.
Total (Final): 4
So, I guess there are two ways of looking at this. First, I made doo doo in not letting this bottle air out long enough before diving in to tasting notes. That’s my bad. Second, and I feel like this is far more probable, drinking whiskey is a silly hobby and what is perceived depends on the setting in which it’s done. The Tabernacle is a bit of a more harsh and fuller bodied cigar, and this whiskey was a wonderful pairing with it. It’s wild how what you’re eating or smoking or who you're drinking with will do to the perception of what you’re drinking. Or, as my friend Jake would say when I brought this bottle to his house later in the night to watch the Pelicans in the NBA bubble while eating some extra cheese pizza, “Holy shit this is good”. He should probably just do all these reviews.
My original rating had this in between a solid pour and actively seek out. After numerous revisits now, I must say that every time I’m in Kentucky I will be attempting (travel companion willing) to take the drive to southern Indiana to get more. Not only for myself, but at $45 this is also a great bottle to bring back friends and family who may not be as well versed in the whiskey world as an example of something that is done right and won’t cause them to go broke. Can’t wait to begin seeing it in stores; this bottle should be actively sought out.