Liquor Laboratory

ll logo white
ll logo white

Smoke Wagon Bourbon Prices & Guide (2024 Best Edition)

Smoke Wagon buying guide

Last Updated on March 27, 2024 by Lydia Martin

The attention given to Smoke Wagon surprised many bourbon enthusiasts since it is not from the top distilleries in the industry. However, Smoke Wagon makers know exactly how to turn MGP spirits into delectable whiskey. Are these spirits worthy of the fuss causing their entry-level bottle to have a high cost?

Here’s an in-depth review of the Smoke Wagon Bourbon – price, barrel, history, and everything interesting about it.  

What’s Smoke Wagon Bourbon? 

Smoke Wagon Bourbon

Smoke Wagon Bourbons are products of Nevada H&C Distilling Company, a Las Vegas-based distillery. It is widely known for its extravagant high-rye taste that is well mixed with fruit notes and smokiness. 

They have Smoke Wagon Straight Bourbon, Smoke Wagon Small Batch, and the Smoke Wagon Uncut Unfiltered variants. Smoke Wagon Private Barrel is also sold apart from the individually bottled whiskeys

Interesting Facts

Interesting Facts

History & Origin

The history of Smoke Wagon started on a fated evening in 2004 at The Chalet, a bar in Eagle Rock, California. The bar’s owner is Aaron Chepenek, who interacted with a customer who later on became his partner with another bar they established in Nevada.

They purchased all the bourbons from MGP of Indiana, which was their plan when they started planning on having their product because of the flavors. Chepenik mainly does the review, testing, and creation of the variants. From those barrel contents, they began creating savory straight bourbon whiskeys.

How It’s Made

oak barrels

The straight bourbon is a blend of younger straight bourbon stocks and older spirits stored in oak barrels. Since rye ages faster than other grains, they find this method very useful to produce the flavor they want. 

They pick a barrel ranging from 4 to 8 years and pair it with a vintage barrel, constantly trying out the flavors before placing it in a bottle. 

Mash Bill

Each brand’s barrel uses the mash bill blend, 60% corn, 36% rye, and 14% malted barley. The brand is known for the consistency of the flavors of its high-rye bourbon. 

The bottle is highly coveted, considering how fast it disappears from stores. The popularity of these bottles has greatly increased from what they had in the past year. 

Owner

The owners of Smoke Wagon are Jonathan Hensleigh, a Hollywood screenwriter, and Aaron Chepenek, a bar owner and bartender. The two met at Chepenek’s bar in California, and they immediately had a great connection. 

They shared varied interests, ranging from business to liquors. They first became business partners with a new bar they co-owned in Nevada before venturing into spirits production. 

Packaging

All Smoke Wagon’s bottles have detailed vinyl labels on the front and back. The two 1873 Colt [1] single-action Army revolvers crossed are in the middle of the label. Below the guns is the brand’s slogan, Bibamus Moriendum Est, which translates to “drink, for we must die.” 

There are slight differences between the entry-level bottles from the flagship bottles. However, these are merely the setup where the logos became inset in the bottle and changed the colors. Also, the Smoke Wagon Straight Bourbon bottle has a clear glass where you can see the liquid inside. 

Tasting Profile

Tasting Profile

Palate

Smoke Wagon Straight Bourbon is the youngest and has a solid rye taste, but it has the pleasant sweetness of vanilla that evens the taste with just the right amount of oak and spice. It has a little bit of heat but no harshness at all.

The Small Batch palate tasted spicy but is toned down with the caramel sweetness. The tongue will also enjoy corn and fruit notes, particularly cantaloupe. This variant also features the solid smoky oak notes found on all variants.

The Uncut Unfiltered’s palate tasted more creamy and fruity compared to the other variants. You will savor plum fruit and dark fruits blended with caramel and rye spice. The palate will also enjoy sweet cinnamon, sugar, and oak notes. 

Nose

Smoke Wagon with glass

Straight bourbon has the classic smell of vanilla and cinnamon but with clear visibility of rye spice. It has a very pleasant scent.

Small Batch brings a fruity smell blended with the scent of a charred alligator barrel to the nose. The smell has that nice sweetness where dried fruits and smoky oak with just a tad of rye spice.

Uncut Unfiltered variant brings more complexity, starting with the nose. It has an earthy scent with vanilla in the background. 

Color

The straight bourbon has a clear caramel color. It has just the right viscosity for a base-level bourbon. The Small Batch has an amber shade. A lighter color compared to Uncut Unfiltered. 

Finish

Smoke Wagon Bottles

Straight bourbon has a little thin and short finish but a nice peppery spice. Rye notes are still evident with its finish.

Small Batch features a medium-long finish with a bit of heat but is not unpleasant. The warm notes are from rye spice, making it very enjoyable to sip.

Uncut Unfiltered has a long spicy finish with notes of black tea and rye. 

How Smoke Wagon Bourbon Gained Popularity 

The popularity of Smoke Wagon started with banter on social media, particularly Facebook. A group named The Bourbon Enthusiast, an online whiskey club, was having a fuss with a San Diego-area liquor store owner who goes by the name “Crazy Naz. 

This store owner allegedly filched all the bottles in California. The whiskey club made their claims, which got everyone asking what this brand has? And the rest is history. 

Related Post: Little Book Price Guide

How To Drink Smoke Wagon Bourbon

How To Drink Smoke Wagon Bourbon

On Ice

The Small Batch is the best fit for an on-the-rocks drink. The sweetness of the fruit, cinnamon, and spice give it the perfect savor. Simply place a couple of ice cubes and pour a shot or a double to create a delicious straight bourbon on the rocks

Neat

A glass of whiskey

A pour from an Uncut Unfiltered bottle is best enjoyed neat. This variant has the fullest flavors with high alcohol content. The fruit and vanilla notes are more profound in this aged variant. 

Gently swirl it around your Glencairn glass to let the aroma explode. Inhale and take in the wonderful smell before taking a sip. Play with it within your mouth and discover its complex flavors. 

Cocktails

Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

You can choose to use any of the Smoke Wagon variants you prefer since all of these are great in a cocktail. However, the fresh spicy savor from a young barrel of straight bourbon will twist the Old Fashioned. 

Simply pour a double shot in an old-fashioned glass with ice, add a dash of bitters and a cube of sugar, and then muddle. Once dissolved, add fruit cuts, and serve. 

Mule

You only need an ounce and a half of any variants you like. Pour it into a highball glass. Add in an ounce of lime juice, a cup of ginger beer, and then your mint sprig garnish. 

Common Smoke Wagon Bourbon Prices

Common Smoke Wagon Bourbon Prices

Type Size Alcohol By Volume Average Price
Smoke Wagon Small Batch Bourbon 750 ml 50% Around $54
Smoke Wagon Uncut & Unfiltered Straight Bourbon Whiskey 750 ml 57.45% Around $82
Smoke Wagon Uncut The Younger Straight Bourbon  750 ml 58% Around $79.99 
Smoke Wagon Private Barrel 750 ml 56.4% Around $104.00

Compared to Other Bourbons 

Compared to Other Bourbons 

Evan Williams

Evan Williams is a bottle from Heaven Hill Distillery. This product has been around since 1783. The experience allowed them to make one of the best-tasting spirits in the market. 

It has rich vanilla and caramel aromas that reaches the palate. Another reason it is a popular choice is that it is priced cheaply and even more affordable than Smoke Wagon. Every 750 ml bottle is priced at roughly $14.

Legent

Legent

Legent bourbon has a very pronounced grain aroma. You can also see its viscosity and richness through the clear glass bottle. It has vanilla and fruit notes that are well-balanced with oak and leather. 

It is bottled at 114 proof and is priced lower than Smoke Wagon. Each 750 ml bottle is around $42.

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey bottle is another small-batch whiskey many drinkers prefer. The variant from their warehouse G is aged eight years and has one of the most balanced flavors. 

Its sweet flavors of caramel, honey, and vanilla combine perfectly with citrus and oak tannins [2]. This brand sells bottles at the same cost as Smoke Wagon Small Batch. Every 750ml bottle is sold for roughly $63.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How old is Smoke Wagon bourbon?

Smoke Wagon bourbon, produced by Nevada H&C Distilling Co., encompasses a range of expressions with varying aging profiles. The age of Smoke Wagon bourbon can differ from one bottling to another, contingent upon the specific aging regimen employed and the desired flavor profile sought by the distillers.

While some releases may proudly display age statements, denoting the number of years the bourbon has matured in oak barrels, others may embrace a blend of bourbons of different ages to achieve a nuanced and complex final product.

This flexibility in aging allows Smoke Wagon to offer a diverse portfolio that caters to the preferences of bourbon enthusiasts, from those seeking the depth and maturity of older bourbons to those desiring the vibrancy and vitality of younger expressions.

Where is Smoke Wagon bourbon from?

Smoke Wagon bourbon emerges from the vibrant whiskey scene of the United States, specifically originating from the desert landscapes of Nevada. Nevada H&C Distilling Co., nestled in the bustling city of Las Vegas, serves as the creative hub where Smoke Wagon bourbon is meticulously crafted.

While the state of Kentucky may traditionally be synonymous with bourbon production, Smoke Wagon showcases the burgeoning diversity within the American whiskey landscape, proving that exceptional bourbon can be crafted outside the traditional heartland.

Drawing upon the innovative spirit of Las Vegas, Smoke Wagon bourbon embodies a fusion of tradition and innovation, delivering a distinctive expression of American whiskey that captivates drinkers with its quality, character, and craftsmanship.

What does Smoke Wagon bourbon taste like?

Smoke Wagon bourbon entices the palate with a captivating array of flavors, showcasing a masterful balance of sweet, spicy, and oaky notes. Upon indulging in a sip of Smoke Wagon bourbon, one is greeted by a luscious sweetness reminiscent of caramel, vanilla, and honey, a testament to the high corn content in its mash bill.

This sweetness is artfully juxtaposed with the warm embrace of baking spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, imparted by the inclusion of rye in the grain mixture. Furthermore, discerning drinkers may detect subtle undertones of smokiness and oak, contributing to the bourbon’s depth and complexity.

The tasting experience of Smoke Wagon bourbon is characterized by its velvety texture, well-rounded flavors, and lingering finish, inviting enthusiasts to savor each sip and explore the myriad layers of complexity within the spirit. Whether enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or as a key component in craft cocktails, Smoke Wagon bourbon offers a versatile and gratifying drinking experience that embodies the essence of American whiskey craftsmanship. With its rich flavor profile and unwavering quality,

Smoke Wagon bourbon stands as a testament to the innovation and artistry flourishing within the American whiskey renaissance.

Is bourbon a smoky whiskey?

While bourbon is not typically known for having a pronounced smoky flavor profile like some other types of whiskey, such as certain Scotch whiskies, it can occasionally exhibit subtle smokiness under certain circumstances.

Unlike Scotch whisky, where the malting process often involves the use of peat, bourbon production does not typically incorporate peat-smoked barley, which is a primary source of smokiness in Scotch. Instead, bourbon’s characteristic flavors are primarily derived from its mash bill, which typically consists of corn, along with varying proportions of rye, barley, or wheat.

Additionally, bourbon gains flavor from the charring of the oak barrels during the aging process, which can contribute nuanced smoky notes, albeit different from those found in peated Scotch whiskies. While smokiness is not a defining trait of bourbon, some expressions may exhibit hints of smoke alongside its more prevalent sweet, spicy, and oaky flavors.

Why is it called Smoke Wagon?

The name “Smoke Wagon” conjures images of the Old West and the iconic covered wagons that traversed the rugged frontier during that era. In the context of bourbon, the name likely alludes to the bold and robust character of the spirit, evoking associations with the smoky flavors that can develop during the aging process in charred oak barrels.

Additionally, “Smoke Wagon” may also pay homage to the history of whiskey smuggling during the Prohibition era. Bootleggers and moonshiners often transported their illicit spirits in hidden compartments within wagons, colloquially referred to as “smoke wagons” due to the clandestine nature of their cargo.

By adopting this evocative name, Smoke Wagon bourbon embraces its heritage and the adventurous spirit of the American West, offering drinkers a taste of frontier resilience and ingenuity in every sip.

Who owns Smoke Wagon bourbon?

Smoke Wagon bourbon is owned and produced by Nevada H&C Distilling Co., a dynamic spirits company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Founded by Aaron Chepenik and Jonathan Hensleigh, Nevada H&C Distilling Co. is dedicated to crafting exceptional bourbons that showcase the rich heritage and craftsmanship of American whiskey.

Although the company may be relatively young compared to some established distilleries, Smoke Wagon bourbon has swiftly garnered recognition and acclaim within the whiskey community for its quality, complexity, and distinctively smooth flavor profile.

As the custodian of the Smoke Wagon brand, Nevada H&C Distilling Co. remains committed to upholding the tradition of excellence while pushing the boundaries of innovation, ensuring that each bottle of Smoke Wagon bourbon delivers an unparalleled drinking experience that captures the essence of the American whiskey tradition.

With a focus on quality craftsmanship and attention to detail, Nevada H&C Distilling Co. continues to elevate the Smoke Wagon brand, establishing it as a distinguished player in the world of premium bourbon.

What do you mix with Smoke Wagon bourbon?

Smoke Wagon bourbon’s robust flavor profile makes it a versatile spirit that can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or as a key ingredient in a variety of cocktails. For those looking to enhance the nuanced flavors of Smoke Wagon bourbon while maintaining its integrity, classic cocktails such as the Old Fashioned or Manhattan are excellent choices.

The natural sweetness and spice of Smoke Wagon bourbon complement the bitters and sweetness of these cocktails, resulting in a harmonious and well-balanced drink.

Additionally, Smoke Wagon bourbon can be used in other whiskey-based cocktails, such as the Whiskey Sour or Boulevardier, where its rich and complex flavor profile adds depth and character to the drink.

Ultimately, the choice of mixer depends on personal preference, but Smoke Wagon bourbon’s versatility ensures that it can shine in a wide range of cocktail creations.

What is Smoke Wagon bourbon?

Smoke Wagon bourbon is a premium American whiskey crafted by Nevada H&C Distilling Co. Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, Nevada H&C Distilling Co. is committed to producing exceptional bourbons that showcase the rich heritage and craftsmanship of American whiskey-making.

Smoke Wagon bourbon is renowned for its bold and robust flavor profile, characterized by notes of caramel, vanilla, spice, and oak.

Crafted with care and attention to detail, Smoke Wagon bourbon embodies the spirit of the American West, offering drinkers a taste of frontier resilience and ingenuity in every sip.

Whether enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails, Smoke Wagon bourbon delivers a memorable drinking experience that captures the essence of American whiskey tradition.

What proof is Smoke Wagon?

Smoke Wagon bourbon is available in a variety of expressions, each with its own unique proof. The proof of Smoke Wagon bourbon can vary depending on the specific bottling and aging regimen employed by Nevada H&C Distilling Co.

However, Smoke Wagon bourbons typically fall within the range of 90 to 114 proof (45% to 57% alcohol by volume).

This range of proofs allows Smoke Wagon bourbon to offer a diverse selection of expressions, catering to different preferences and occasions.

Whether seeking a bold and robust bourbon or a smoother, more approachable option, there is likely a Smoke Wagon expression to suit every palate.

In Conclusion 

Smoke Wagon’s bottled spirits are undoubtedly special. The controversy over the internet proved the value of what is inside their barrels. The consistency and complexity of flavors they are loading on each bourbon justify their cost.  

Each barrel stored at the warehouse of Smoke Wagon is enough to keep this brand at the top for a couple more years. Chepenik and Heinsleigh is the best example of people with dedication. They proved that even small-time dreamers could make it big if they knew their game. 

References:

  1. Colt 1873 Single Action Army
  2. Ethnobotany Tannins
Lumint ad Side Bar
Flex Ad Side Bar