Last Updated on March 3, 2023 by Lydia Martin
Recently, the news of halting the production of Belle Meade bourbons became a hot topic among the whiskey community.
Fortunately, it is not entirely true as the brand would only disappear from the national market.
Here’s our quick review of Belle Meade Reserve Bourbon, the premium expression of their first bourbon.
Everything About Belle Meade Reserve Bourbon
Belle Meade Reserve Bourbon has a high rye and alcohol content, which makes it perfect for people who are looking for a high-proof expression of Belle Meade Bourbon.
It is sourced from MGP Distillery and bottled at Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery. The history of its company started even before the Prohibition period.
It contains 54.15% ABV with robust and rich flavors. Unfortunately, it won’t be available to national markets anymore.
|Distillery||Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery/MGP Distillery|
|Whiskey Type & Region||Bourbon from Nashville, Tennessee/Lawrenceburg, Indiana|
|Barrel Proof||108.3 proof|
|Mash Bill||Corn, Rye, and Malted Barley|
|Age||No Age Statement|
|Average Price||$60 (MSRP)|
Origin & History
Andy and Charlie Nelson found out in 2006 that Charles Nelson, their great-great-great grandfather, founded Tennessee’s largest distillery before Prohibition .
“A lot of people will tell you that for a whiskey to be successful, it needs a good flavor profile and a good story.”– Charles K. Cowdery, Author.
Since then, the brothers started planning to resurrect the family business.
The first product they launched is Belle Meade Bourbon, a label used by Nelson’s before it stopped operating in the early 1900s.
Belle Meade Reserve Bourbon does not have an age statement on its bottle, making it hard to know the aging process of the spirit.
However, the oak barrels used are said to be seven to eleven years old, or even older sometimes.
These barrels ensure that each batch is consistent in quality and equally pleasing by producing a more robust, richer, and higher-proof bourbon.
Mash Bill & Alcohol Content
Like its age statement, Belle Meade Reserve Bourbon does not also disclose its mash bill.
But some whiskey enthusiasts settle down on the 64% corn, 30% rye, and 6% malted barley.
The alcohol content of this bourbon is higher than a typical Kentucky bourbon, with 54.15% ABV.
This alcohol percentage and high rye content lend a stronger flavor profile to the liquor.
Distillery & Ownership
This bourbon is under the name of Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, but its production process took place in a different distillery.
The Nelsons needed to bring in revenue, but their whiskey needed to undergo an aging process that may take several years.
In the end, the brothers bought high-rye bourbons from MGP Ingredients in Indiana .
After swirling the glass, you would notice a fresh spicy aroma, vanilla sweetness, and some alcohol punch. There are also pleasant sweet oaky notes.
The flavors of brown sugar, cinnamon, and rye spice would greet you at the first sip. Then, it will develop into a cherry or red apple taste.
This bourbon has a reddish amber appearance.
The bourbon has a lingering heat caused by its high rye and alcohol content.
How To Enjoy It
The best way to enjoy whiskey is to drink it neat. You would want to taste all the unique blends and tastes developed through the aging process.
On The Rocks
Since Belle Meade Reserve Bourbon has 108.3 proof, dropping a couple of ice would tone down its dark and strong flavors.
You can also add mixers like soda water, ginger ale, or lemon juice to create a refreshing cocktail and mask the strong alcohol content.
Common Belle Meade Reserve Bourbon Price
|Type||Size||Alcohol Proof||Average Price|
|Belle Meade Reserve Bourbon||750 ml||108.3||Around $65-$75 (Drizly)|
Compared to Other Bourbons
Old Forester 1920
Just like Belle Meade, the Old Forester distillery already existed before Prohibition.
The two brands are almost in the same price range whereas the Old Forester 1920 is around $65 (Drizly).
The Old Forester 1920 has an alcohol content of 57.5% ABV. It has a rich and bold flavor with dark chocolate and barrel char notes.
Four Roses Small Batch Select
Four Roses Small Batch Select has 104 proof, which is almost the same as Belle Meade Reserve at 108.3 proof.
Its price of $64 (Drizly) does not also differ so much from Belle Meade.
It uses six out of ten unique recipes of Four Roses, creating a bourbon with a creamy mouthfeel and a blend of summer fruits, oak, and vanilla flavors.
Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon
It has a slightly higher alcohol content of 55% ABV than Belle Meade, but its price of $65 (Drizly) is still within the range.
This bourbon has a high corn content, but with no age statement.
A mix of charred oak and rye spice is on the palate, and flavors of leather, toffee, and tobacco also mingle.
Is Belle Meade Reserve Bourbon discontinued?
No, the production of Belle Meade Reserve Bourbon would not entirely discontinue. It would still be available around Tennessee.
Is Belle Meade Reserve the same as cask strength?
No, Belle Meade Reserve has a consistent quality and alcohol content per batch, making it different from cask strength.
Is Belle Meade Reserve rare?
Yes, Belle Meade Reserve is a rare bourbon that will not be available in the national market anymore.
Belle Meade Reserve Bourbon is one of those liquors that will soon be hard to find.
The flavor profile may vary to a certain degree for each batch released, but this bourbon ensures a rich and full-flavored drink per bottle.
Although it is more expensive than most bourbon brands, it is still a great deal if you can manage to find one.
Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.