Brands | Best Bourbons | Nevada H&C Distilling Co | Small Batch | Smoke Wagon

Every Smoke Wagon Bourbon Reviewed [Complete Guide]

Last updated Nov 19, 2020 | Published Oct 2020

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by Matty Sims

Smoke Wagon bourbon was founded by Aaron Chepenik and Jonathan Hensleigh in 2012 as Nevada H&C Distilling Co. They source their bourbon from MGP using a 36% high rye bourbon mash bill. Chepenik was convinced you can develop a brand flavor profile using MGP’s bourbon: “You can definitely get proprietary flavors from MGP through your blending, through using multiple vintages, and from pulling barrels from multiple floors” (Go Bourbon). They age all their barrels in the Las Vegas dessert which provides the weather fluctuate you need for aging bourbon.

In February 2016, Chepenik started blending barrels for their initial release of Smoke Wagon Small Batch (2016 San Francisco World Spirits competition gold medal). The Uncut Unfiltered was their next release. As of the writing of this article, Nevada H&C Distilling Co has only released 25 batches of Smoke Wagon Bourbon Uncut Unfiltered and 21 of those happened between May 2020 and October 2020 (Chepenik on Instagram). That shows how much growth they’ve seen in 2020 alone.

If you’re on Instagram, Aaron Chepenik is active on their profile with giveaways, bourbon geek knowledge, and more. It’s a great follow for bourbon nerds. I’ve been lucky enough to try all the releases below as well as two 12 year old Smoke Wagon Single Barrel picks out of Atlanta. They’ve all been good. Don’t sleep. That’s why the Smoke Wagon Bourbon Uncut Unfiltered and Small Batch made my best bourbon ranked list.

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Smoke Wagon Bourbon Uncut Unfiltered Review

Smoke Wagon Uncut Unfiltered

Smoke Wagon Bourbon Uncut UnfilteredDetails
ProductionSourced (MGP)
Mash Bill60% corn, 36% rye and 4% barley
AgeBlend of 4, 6 and 10 year old barrels
ProofVaries
ABVVaries
Price$65
DistilleryNevada H&C Distilling Co
ProsBold Flavors
ConsLimited Distribution
RatingGold 93 Points
InventoryBuy, Stock, and Drink

Smoke Wagon Uncut Unfiltered in the Glass

A thin layer of bourbon coats my glencairn whiskey glass with tiny beads slowly making their way to the bottom of the glass. Not as oily as I would have expected.

Nose – 91 points

Peaches and cream. Vanilla creme pie drizzled with caramel. Cinnamon and charred oak.

Taste – 93 Points

Brown sugar and maple syrup on the front of the palate. Oak and baking spice rounding the top and side of the palate. Creamy fruit sweetness on the back of the palate. That was unexpected surprise. I don’t usually get sweet notes so far back in the palate.

Finish – 95 Points

Sugar-coated peaches grilled with baking spice, white pepper, and charred oak. It’s a long finish that’s complex and balanced.

Verdict – Gold 93 Points

This reminds of an OESF from Four Roses. The balance between sweet and spice. Plus it doesn’t drink like 114.9 proof. It’s an easy drinking barrel proof. The layers of flavor and complexity and its current price point make it a great value.

Smoke Wagon Desert Jewel Bourbon Review

Smoke Wagon Dessert Jewel

Smoke Wagon Desert JewelDetails
ProductionSourced (MGP)
Mash Bill60% corn, 36% rye and 4% barley
Age10 Years
Proof104
ABV52%
Price$80
DistilleryNevada H&C Distilling Co

Smoke Wagon Desert Jewel Bourbon was a limited release of 10 year bourbon from the fourth floor of the Nevada H&C Distilling Co. The MSRP was $80 at release. As of early 2020, I was still seeing members in local bourbon groups finding bottles of this at retail. That however was short lived. By middle summer, the legend grew and these were all but extinct.

My review of Desert Jewel coming soon.

Smoke Wagon Small Batch Bourbon Review

Smoke Wagon Small Batch BourbonDetails
ProductionSourced (MGP)
Mash Bill60% corn, 36% rye and 4% barley
Age4 to 5 year old MGP bourbon
Proof100
ABV50%
Price$50
DistilleryNevada H&C Distilling Co

My review of Smoke Wagon Small Batch Bourbon coming soon.

Smoke Wagon Straight Bourbon Whiskey Review

Smoke Wagon Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Smoke Wagon Straight Bourbon WhiskeyDetails
ProductionSourced (MGP)
Mash Bill60% corn, 36% rye and 4% barley
AgeNAS
Proof92.5
ABV46.25%
Price$34.99
DistilleryNevada H&C Distilling Co
ProsGreat Daily Sipper
ConsTad Young
RatingSilver 84 Points
InventoryWorth Stocking for Sipping and Mixing

Nose – 83 Points

The Smoke Wagon straight bourbon whiskey has a delicate nose. I get fresh ground sweet summer corn then sweet grits with brown sugar and just hints of baking spice. It’s rounded out with subtle floral and light caramel notes.

Taste – 85 Points

I get a pleasant but noticeable young whiskey grain note, more floral notes and light caramel mid palate with baking spice and black pepper adding intrigue to the lighter notes. It’s well rounded but not complex.

Finish – 85 Points

The finish is an entanglement of floral notes, baking spice, and black pepper. It’s a medium finish.

Verdict – Silver 84 Points

This score is solid for what I would consider a daily sipper. It’s well rounded with interesting flavors. What it’s missing is the age and complexity of its older brothers. I sipped through a bottle of my own this summer. That’s the sweet spot for this drinker because the sweet and floral notes — hot summer day with a cigar.

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Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is the Editor-in-Chief at a digital media company. LeAnn (his wife) and his daughters Claire, Maddy, and Adele along with a brand new pup Booker live in Taylors, SC, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He enjoys cracking a well-aged bottle of bourbon with friends and sharing stories, or cracking one of his favorite daily sippers on the back porch while the pup and his kids play in the backyard. He is a storyteller at heart, and Bourbon has deep roots in storytelling.

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