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Old Elk Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes: Full Guide For 2024

Old Elk Bourbon Review 

Last Updated on March 7, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Ever tried any of the Old Elk’s expressions before?

If you have yet to try it, you must check out this Old Elk Bourbon review first to assess if this bottle will suit your style and preference. 

Made with the partnership of prominent distilleries, will Old Elk impress whiskey fans and beginners? Will it stand out from the vast brands in the liquor market? 

Let’s find out.

Overview of Old Elk Bourbon  

Man Holding Bottle of OlD Elk Bourbon

Old Elk is a facility located in Fort Collins, Colorado. Founded in 2013, it has quickly become a well-known and frequently talked about the company. 

The Old Elk shows the expertise of its Master Distiller Greg Metze, from the MGP Indiana, where the bourbon is distilled and aged for around five years before it’s bottled at the Old Elk Distillery in Colorado.   

Also read: Dancing Pines Distillery in Berthoud, Colorado

 Quick Facts 

DistilleryOld Elk Distillery/MGP Indiana/Colorado Bourbon Distilleries
Classification & RegionBourbon/USA
Alcohol Proof88-proof
Mash Bill51% corn, 34% malted barley, 15% rye 
Age Statement5-year-old 
ColorMedium Amber 
Average PriceAround $50 (Straight Bourbon)

What’s Old Elk Bourbon? 

Glass of Old Elk Whiskey

Old Elk Bourbon is bottled at 88-proof at its distillery in Colorado.

The Old Elk Blended Straight Bourbon Whiskey is known for its high malted barley content, which we consider a non-traditional bourbon whiskey. 

“A spirit doesn’t have to be made in Grandpa’s barn to taste good, and it just has to be made right. Despite what some whiskey snobs believe, MGP makes some spirits worth savoring.”

— MGP, Indiana-Based Distillery.

But other than that, Old Elk has lots of bourbons and rye expressions to offer, like our favorites from the brand: 

  • Straight Wheat Bourbon – Old Elk’s wheated bourbon at 92-proof
  • Single Barrel Mission Select – Barrel-proof wheated bourbon at 112.8-proof
  • Straight Rye Whiskey – 95% rye and 100-proof  

What Does Old Elk Bourbon Taste Like? 


Old Elk bourbon has sweet and light components from cinnamon and chocolate with the classic rich bourbon character of caramel and oak notes from the traditional recipes. 


The smooth taste profile is what makes Old Elk an easy-drinking spirit.

The velvety palate is immediately apparent; then, at the slow cut, it covers the mouth with other flavors like vanilla, cinnamon, and honey notes. 


On the finish, the vanilla and caramel flavors linger with the sweetness of brown sugar, baking spice, and the spicy essence of a bit of rye spice and black pepper. 

Our Thoughts 

Pouring Bottle of Old Elk Bourbon on a Glass

First Sip

While it looks like something extra on the glass, on the initial sip, it’s a simple bourbon with sweet and fruity hints. The flavor is good, though, true to its tasting notes.  

Second Chance

But, on the second time, the honey and extra barley notes show up with a little hint of spiciness, which elevates the spices. 

How it delivers and generates sweet notes on the palate could be better, as this is comparable to Maker’s Mark and Old Forester.  

Why We Like It 

  • This straight bourbon, with a high malted barley [1] content, is unique to most bourbons. 
  • We like how Master Distiller Greg Metze blends this whiskey beyond the traditional way.
  • It’s more on the sweet notes, but the oak spice is well incorporated into the flavors. 


  • We’re not satisfied with how this Old Elk Blended Straight Bourbon finishes. It’s short and not remarkable. 
  • We’ve tried adding a few drops of water, which mutes the pleasant aroma. 
  • Nothing special aside from its high barley content. 

Old Elk Bourbon Rating 

Old Elk Wooden Barrel

We give Old Elk Straight Bourbon a 4-star rating. Although there’s not much special, it’s carefully crafted (with the collaboration of the blending house and the distillery itself).

You can expect premium quality, which suits special occasions. Also, if you like mixing drinks, Old Elk whiskey [2] is also a great addition.   

Would We Buy It Again? 

Yes, we would rebuy a bottle. It’s widely available, so it’s easy to find a bottle of this spirit. 

Although it’s high-priced compared to other bourbons with the same profile, Old Elk’s value proposition is reasonable and rightful for its quality and character.

Yes, it has flaws, but it’s still a good experience. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where does Old Elk source their bourbon?

Old Elk source their bourbons from the MGP Distillery in Indiana. 

When was Old Elk bourbon made?

Old Elk was made in 2013 when Curt Richardson, an entrepreneur, decided to try craft distilling. 

What does Old Elk taste like?

Old Elk Bourbon is known for its well-balanced and complex flavor profile. With a mash bill featuring corn, malted barley, and rye, it offers a harmonious blend of sweet and spicy notes.

Tasting Old Elk may reveal a foundation of caramel and vanilla, complemented by hints of dried fruit and a subtle peppery spice.

The whiskey’s smooth and approachable character, along with its distinct flavor nuances, contributes to its appeal among bourbon enthusiasts seeking a well-crafted and enjoyable sipping experience.

Is bourbon high quality?

Bourbon, as a category of whiskey, is recognized for its commitment to high-quality standards. To be classified as bourbon, a whiskey must adhere to specific regulations, including being distilled from a mash bill of at least 51% corn, aged in new charred oak barrels, and distilled to no more than 160 proof.

These stringent requirements contribute to the overall quality of bourbon, ensuring a consistent level of craftsmanship and flavor.

While individual preferences vary, the bourbon category as a whole is associated with a commitment to excellence and a dedication to traditional production methods, making it a sought-after and respected spirit among whiskey enthusiasts.

What does Old Forester bourbon taste like?

Old Forester Bourbon boasts a rich and flavorful taste profile, characterized by a well-balanced combination of sweet and spicy notes. As the first bottled bourbon, Old Forester has a historic legacy and a signature flavor profile.

Tasting Old Forester may reveal prominent caramel and vanilla undertones, accompanied by a subtle spiciness and hints of oak. The brand’s commitment to consistency and its unique aging process contribute to the distinctive taste of Old Forester Bourbon.

Overall, it offers a satisfying and approachable flavor experience, making it a popular choice for both seasoned bourbon drinkers and those new to the world of whiskey.

Who is Greg Metze?

As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, Greg Metze is a highly respected master distiller with extensive experience in the American whiskey industry. He is renowned for his work at MGP Ingredients, a distillery known for producing a wide range of high-quality spirits, including bourbons and ryes.

Greg Metze played a crucial role in crafting and overseeing the production of many well-regarded whiskey brands sourced from MGP, earning him recognition for his expertise and contributions to the industry.

However, keep in mind that details about individuals may evolve over time, and it’s recommended to verify the latest information for the most accurate and up-to-date details about Greg Metze’s career in the whiskey industry.

Why does elk taste so good?

Elk meat is often praised for its exceptional taste due to its lean composition and unique flavor profile. With a lower fat content compared to other meats, elk offers a milder, richer taste that is less gamey and more tender.

The diet of wild elk, consisting of natural forage such as grasses and shrubs, contributes to the meat’s distinct flavor, free from the influences of artificial additives.

Additionally, the cooking method and seasoning further enhance the natural goodness of elk, making it a sought-after choice for those who appreciate a flavorful and wholesome meat experience.

What is the alcohol content of Old Elk Bourbon?

Old Elk Bourbon typically has an alcohol by volume (ABV) ranging from 44% to 50%, depending on the specific expression and bottling. This ABV range is common for many bourbons, providing a balanced and robust flavor profile.

The alcohol content plays a crucial role in extracting flavors from the charred oak barrels during the aging process, contributing to the overall complexity and character of the bourbon.

Old Elk’s commitment to quality craftsmanship is reflected in its attention to the alcohol content, ensuring that each expression maintains a harmonious balance between the alcohol strength and the nuanced flavors developed during maturation.

Is it OK to drink bourbon straight?

Yes, it is absolutely acceptable to drink bourbon straight. In fact, many bourbon enthusiasts prefer to enjoy it neat or on the rocks to fully savor the intricate flavors and aromas. Drinking bourbon straight allows the connoisseur to experience the spirit in its purest form, without dilution from mixers or additional ingredients.

The high-quality craftsmanship of bourbons often makes them well-suited for sipping, allowing the drinker to appreciate the intricate notes of caramel, vanilla, spice, and oak that develop during the aging process.

Whether enjoyed at room temperature or with a single ice cube to open up the flavors, drinking bourbon straight is a common and respected practice among whiskey enthusiasts.

What is the number 1 bourbon in the world?

Determining the “number 1 bourbon in the world” is subjective and can vary based on individual preferences and industry opinions. However, as of my last knowledge update in January 2022, Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve is often regarded as one of the top-rated and sought-after bourbons globally.

The Pappy Van Winkle line, known for its limited availability and exceptional quality, has gained a legendary status in the bourbon community.

Keep in mind that rankings and opinions may change over time, and the title of the “number 1 bourbon” is influenced by individual tastes, availability, and the ever-evolving landscape of the bourbon industry.

Why is bourbon so expensive?

The cost of bourbon can be attributed to various factors, including the quality of ingredients, the production process, and aging time.

Premium bourbons often use high-quality grains, undergo meticulous craftsmanship, and spend extended periods aging in charred oak barrels, contributing to complex flavors and a smoother finish.

Limited editions, rarity, and the increasing demand for top-tier bourbons also drive up prices, as enthusiasts are willing to pay for unique and exceptional whiskey experiences.

What is the smoothest sweetest bourbon?

Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon is often considered one of the smoothest and sweetest bourbons available. Known for its rich and velvety texture, Blanton’s offers a well-balanced sweetness with notes of caramel, vanilla, and a hint of citrus.

The single-barrel aging process contributes to its smooth profile, making it a favorite among those who appreciate a mellow and flavorful bourbon with a touch of sweetness.

Do expensive bourbons taste better?

The perception of whether expensive bourbons taste better is subjective and varies among individuals. While some expensive bourbons are crafted with meticulous care, aged longer, and use high-quality ingredients, taste preferences are highly personal.

Some may find that the complexity and depth of flavors in expensive bourbons justify their higher price, while others may discover affordable options that suit their palate equally well.

Ultimately, the enjoyment of bourbon is a subjective experience, and the price does not always guarantee a better taste, as individual preferences play a significant role.

Is Bourbon whiskey bitter?

Bourbon whiskey is not inherently bitter; instead, it offers a diverse flavor profile that encompasses sweetness, spiciness, and other nuanced notes. The taste of bourbon can vary depending on factors such as the mash bill, aging process, and individual brand characteristics.

While bitterness is not a defining trait of bourbon, some expressions may feature hints of bitterness, especially if they have been aged for an extended period in charred oak barrels.

However, the overall flavor of bourbon is often a harmonious blend of sweet, spicy, and oaky elements, providing a rich and satisfying drinking experience for those who appreciate the complexities of this popular American whiskey.

Final Verdict: Old Elk Bourbon Review

Old Elk bourbon is a simple yet unique whiskey expression.

It’s pretty interesting that will surely appeal to beginners due to its sweet profile with oak hints and slight rye spiciness.

For experienced drinkers, your style and preference will dictate if you like this spirit. If you’re looking for complex, rich, and deep notes, this is not for you. 

However, if you appreciate light spirits, then this is something you need to try. Just don’t expect too much from this spirit, but it gives quite a good experience.  


  1. Malting
  2. Bourbon Whiskey
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