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Friday, November 16, 2018

Cleveland Black Reserve Bourbon Review

Welcome to the review for Cleveland Black Reserve Bourbon. Let's start with the stats from the manufacturer.

Manufacturer: Cleveland Whiskey (I think.... this one is hard to find information on and their website is really bad)

Age: 6 Months

Location Produced: Aged and Bottled in Cleveland

Mash Bill: Unknown

Aroma (from manufacturer): Not listed

Taste (from manufacturer)Not listed

Finish (from manufacturer): Not listed

Alcohol: 50%

Who is this for?: Grover Cleveland, Moses Cleveland (he invented Cleveland), Cleveland Brown from Family Guy, Ricky Vaughn, People in this video...

Cost (Ohio): $31.98 + tax

Alright, let's get to the review! This is the first Ohio bourbon that I'm reviewing, and, as an added bonus, I'm doing this with a guest review, the great Johny K.

Review: Taste -  Score 15 out of 35

Cleveland Whiskey is unique in the way that they create their bourbon flavor. Rather than the traditional approach of aging years in a charred oak barrel for many years, the Cleveland technique is to let sit in the barrel for 6 months, then transfer to stainless steel vats filled with American oak and applying pressure to the vats that allows the bourbon to take the flavor of the wood. The distiller says their bourbon can be ready in as little as 24 hours using this method. Will this technique be better than traditional bourbons? Let's take a look.

With the pour, this Cleveland starts with a light to medium nose. Drinking, we didn't get a ton of unique flavor, and the flavor I did get wasn't enjoyable. When I gave the Duchess a taste, she picked up hints of nutmeg, but that didn't come across to Johny or myself. I found the flavor to be a bit harsh and bitter. I needed to add a heavy splash of water before I could tolerate it without making the bitter beer face. This could be due to the process that Cleveland uses or a higher alcohol content. Either way, we both don't think this bourbon tastes very good.

Smoothness/Finish - Score 18.5 out of 25

As much as I was hoping that the pressurization process would make an amazing bourbon with a smooth/medium finish, Cleveland did not do that.... I found this bourbon to be quite harsh with a rough, short finish.

Johny thought the smoothness was lightly harsh with a strong alcohol taste. He agreed with the short finish.

Intangibles: Color/Appearance -  Score 10.5 out of 15.

Cleveland Bourbon comes in on the darker side of most bourbons and is delivered in a tall bottle with the word 'Cleveland' embossed on it. The bottle has a clean look. You could do much worse displaying it on your liquor shelf. One unique feature is that the batch number is displayed on a sticker near the bottom of the bottle. For this review, the bottle was batch #6. We think the bottle and appearance are nicer than most, but not the best we've seen. 

Availability - Score 5 out of 5

Since it's made in Ohio, it's fairly easy to find in Ohio. 

Overall Value - Score 8 out of 20

At this price point, Cleveland is competing against the likes of Woodford Reserve and Makers Mark, and comes in more expensive than both Bulleit and Bulleit Rye. For our money.... Based on the taste and the fact that this bourbon didn't taste great or go down smooth, we recommend buying a cheaper option. As a stand-alone drinking bourbon, we don't think the juice is worth the squeeze. 

Final Score: 57 out of 100

Note: This review was done by Mark and The Great Johny K. The bottle was given as a birthday gift from Patty Y.

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