Today, June 14th, is National Bourbon Day, and what better way to celebrate this beloved holiday than with the newest small-batch bourbon from one of the oldest and most iconic bourbon purveyors in this great nation. Wild Turkey‘s newest gift to us all is called Longbranch and this spirit is a collaboration with Matthew McConaughey and Master Distiller Eddie Russell (who also has his own line of Russell’s Reserve bourbons that are highly underrated).
For this review I could have easily said, “Matthew McConaughey loves this bourbon and if its good enough for Matthew McConaughey then its good enough for you.” Press “Publish” and call it a day. While writing that kind of article would save me quite a bit of precious time, it wouldn’t do this fine bourbon or you, the delightful readers, any justice.
For several years now, Matthew McConaughey has been a creative director for Wild Turkey. While creative director for a famous whiskey distillery would be a dream job for most everyone on the planet, this is Matthew McConaughey we’re talking about. The Hollywood legend wanted to help create a new bourbon that would not only embrace all that is magnificent about Kentucky bourbon, but also honor McConaughey’s home state of Texas. The Lone Star State is known around the world for their glorious barbeque. And any good Texan worth their weight in salt uses mesquite wood to smoke their beef brisket. Mesquite wood has a unique and intense flavor. McConaughey wanted to incorporate this Texas staple into his bourbon to give it a delightful smokey aroma.
Longbranch is made from Wild Turkey’s eight-year-old bourbon, but it gets a one-of-a-kind gusto and complexity from mesquite and oak charcoals. The charcoals not only give the bourbon a deep smokey flavor but also filter the spirit.
On the nose, you immediately get sweet aromas of caramel and brown sugar followed by a pleasant vanilla smell. The flavors of honey and orange slide across the palate and are followed by a slightly peppery taste and then that charred, smokey flavor from the mesquite charcoal kicks in. You can taste a much less oaky property than other bourbons. At $39.99, Longbranch is a high-quality bourbon that you’ll definitely want to sip while bullshitting with friends around a fire pit this summer.
The only thing that might slightly disappoint hardcore whiskey aficionados is that this spirit is only 86 proof, which might be less than what some may expect. However, the positive of the lower ABV is that Longbranch is smooth to drink. Longbranch can be sipped neat without any burn or aftertaste. For higher proof spirits you may want to indulge in 101 proof spirits such as Wild Turkey’s Kentucky Spirit or Wild Turkey 101. The last thing I’ll say about this wonderful small-batch bourbon is that if Longbranch is good enough for Academy Award-winning Matthew McConaughey then its good enough for you.