The Pride of Riverside
A Fresh Bourbon from Chicagoland
Throughout July, we focused our reviews solely on bourbon and bourbon-style whiskeys. We’ve looked at classic brands, bottles made from lost barrels, and even one example that used peated malt. For our final selection this month we wanted to try something local. While you may have seen our Koval post and have tried their bourbon, the past decade has seen several more Chicago-based distilleries emerge. We were introduced to Quincy Street Distillery through a good friend of ours. He brought us a bottle of Laughton Bros. bourbon which we think showcases the variety and attention to detail that a young distillery can achieve.
Quincy Street is located in the town of Riverside, a historic planned suburban community west of Chicago. The distillery makes several different types of spirits with historic connection, be it in the name of the bottle or even the recipes used. The mash bill for several of the Quincy Street offerings is similar—83% corn with the balance made up of malted barley and rye. Laughton Brothers is the name that Quincy Street has given to a line of bourbon whiskeys. Much of the line has been aged 2 years (in the requisite new, charred American oak barrels), some is bottled at barrel strength, and at least one bottling has been aged three years. Our bottle is the ‘Distiller’s Select.’
Laughton Brothers Illinois Straight Bourbon Distiller’s Select 2 Barrel Blend
Yet again we have a bourbon with an incredibly long name. But the name alone describes a lot of what makes this bottle unique. Quincy Street is relatively new, and like many other craft distilleries the company faces a challenge in figuring out how to get spirits on store shelves while also ageing stock long enough to create the desired flavor profile. Several Chicago area distilleries have experimented with smaller barrels - quarter casks and such - to effective age their whiskey faster. Most of the Laughton Brothers line has been aged in full sized, 53 gallon barrels. But the Distiller’s Select includes whiskey aged in small 5 gallon barrels. This is not unlike Scotch whisky companies, such as LaPhroaig, who will create a bottling using whiskey from different barrel types.
On the Eyes: The Quincy Street bottle is of a conventional shape, but the label has a lot of character with graphics and text that convey a vintage feel. The whiskey is a deep amber with red tones. The liquid has long lasting, thick legs in the glass.
On the Nose: Our first impressions are of the scent of cornbread, strait out of the oven slathered with butter. We also detected the telltale bourbon aroma of vanilla, as well as a hint of wood varnish.
To the Taste: This whiskey has one of the more clear cut flavor notes we’ve experienced. Right off the bat we tasted fresh baked cherry pie. The palette has some heat up front, with a battle of sweet and spice that ends with sweetness victorious. Towards the back of each sip we picked up some citrus flavors.
And the Finish: The finish is long and luxurious with another dose of cherry, this time in the guise of cherry liquor.
This has become one of our favorite bourbon whiskeys. The flavor profile is much more complex and robust than the two year age would suggest. We also appreciate the experimentation with different casks. AT 45.5%, Laughton Brothers is easy to drink neat. This whiskey demonstrates how a young distillery does not need to wait five or more years to produce excellent product. We look forward to trying more special releases from Quincy Street in the future.