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Every Smoke Wagon Bourbon Reviewed [2021]

Last updated Feb 9, 2021 | Published on Oct 23, 2020

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by Matty Sims

Smoke Wagon Bourbon was founded by Aaron Chepenik and Jonathan Hensleigh in 2012 as part of Nevada H&C Distilling Co. They source their bourbon from Midwest Grain Products of Indiana (MGPI) using MGPI’s 36% high rye bourbon mashbill. Chepenik was convinced you can develop a brand flavor profile using MGPI’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 also age their barrels in the Las Vegas desert. That climate provides the weather fluctuation needed for aging bourbon and helps develop their signature bold flavors.

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 bourbons ranked list.

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Which Smoke Wagon Bourbon is Best?

Smoke Wagon Bourbons Reviewed

So which Smoke Wagon bourbon should you hunt and buy? It’s not just Smoke Wagon Small Batch vs. Uncut Unfiltered either. We’ve compared all their bourbon expressions below:

Best Smoke Wagon Bourbon
93 Reviewer
0 0 votes
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Taste
Finish
92.7 Reviewer
0 0 votes
Nose
Taste
Finish
91.7 Reviewer
0 0 votes
Nose
Taste
Finish
90 Reviewer
0 0 votes
Nose
Taste
Finish
88 Reviewer
0 0 votes
Nose
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87.3 Reviewer
0 0 votes
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84.3 Reviewer
0 0 votes
Nose
Taste
Finish

Smoke Wagon Rare and Limited Guide

Smoke Wagon Rare and Limiteds
Batch NumberBlend Age 1Blend Age 2Blend Age 3Blend Age 4# of BottlesABV
Batch #1 Batch100% 8 yearN/AN/AN/A150059.45
The Only 5 Yr100% 5 YearN/AN/AN/A19255.8
Special Batch Small Batch Batch*10% 12 Year10% 11 Year10% 10 Year70% 4 Year34249.35
*Aaron, to date, has been giving cases of these away on IG. They have not been released for sale.

Smoke Wagon Rare and Limited Batch 1 Review

Feature - Smoke Wagon Rare and Limited Batch 1

Smoke Wagon Desert JewelDetails
ProductionSourced (MGP)
Mash Bill60% corn, 36% rye and 4% barley
Age8 Years
Proof118.9
ABV59.45%
Yield1500 Bottles
Floor5th
Barrels11
Price$80
DistilleryNevada H&C Distilling Co

Smoke Wagon Rare & Limited is a blend of 8-year-old bourbons from 11 barrels on the 5th floor. According to Nevada H&C Distilling Co.,

It is balanced with notes of caramel, honey, and butterscotch upfront at almost 119 proof. The finish has cinnamon, oak, and big deep earthy black pepper spice.

Smoke Wagon is a great new brand. Like the guns on their bottles — they are winning the West in my opinion. Yes, they are MGP sourced but the magic of blending and other tricks like silver filtering help make this brand truly unique.

Nose – 90 out of 100 Points

Toasted marshmallow, burnt caramel and oak, corn, and butter.

Taste – 90 out of 100 Points

Cherry, vanilla, a citrus ring with a hint of chocolate and black pepper, cinnamon that tickles the tongue for a bit. As I swirl it around, I get some caramel and fruit notes too. It is oily and tangy.

Finish – 90 out of 100 Points

After it fades, it leaves my mouth watering a little bit dry when it first hits. The taste lasts for a while so I say long finish. I get toasted wood, some banana & chocolate.

Verdict – Silver 90 out of 100 Points

The Bard Silver 300px

If the proof was at say 127 to 134, Smoke Wagon Rare and Limited would have had a more balanced mouthfeel and more pronounced flavors. The oily mouthfeel was nice, but with more age, it could have been a 95 or higher. Not bad for Smoke Wagon’s first batch of Rare and Limited.

Tasting notes shared with permission — Matthew M. Gore aka The Whiskey Cabinet

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

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 out of 100 points

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

Taste – 93 out of 100 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 out of 100 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 out of 100 Points

This reminds me of an OESF from Four Roses  — a perfect balance between sweet and spice. Plus Uncut and Unfiltered doesn’t drink like 114.9 proof. It’s a bold but easy-drinking barrel proof flavor bomb. The layers of flavor and complexity plus its current price point make it a great value. The only hold up — availability. These Uncut Unfiltered batches are becoming hard to come by.

Smoke Wagon Bourbon Uncut Unfiltered Batches

Smoke Wagon Bourbon Uncut Unfiltered Batches
ABVBottling DateBatch
58.311-9-16Not Assigned a Batch #
58.152017Not Assigned a Batch #
57.534-12-17Not Assigned a Batch #
57.98-1-2018Not Assigned a Batch #
58.4511-12-18Not Assigned a Batch #
58.357-1-19Not Assigned a Batch #
8-19-19Not Assigned a Batch #
58.19-6-19Not Assigned a Batch #
57.4512-21-19Not Assigned a Batch #
57.851-19-20Not Assigned a Batch #
57.61-27-20Not Assigned a Batch #
57.53-3-2020Not Assigned a Batch #
57.353-11-2020Not Assigned a Batch #
56.86-4-2020Not Assigned a Batch #
56.85Not Assigned a Batch #
577-3-2020Not Assigned a Batch #
57.457-7-2020Not Assigned a Batch #
57.38-7-2020Not Assigned a Batch #
56.958-13-2020Not Assigned a Batch #
57.1Not Assigned a Batch #
56.69-2-2020Not Assigned a Batch #
56.329-23-2020Not Assigned a Batch #
56.379-25-2020Not Assigned a Batch #
57.739-25-2020 (special blend)Not Assigned a Batch #
57.69
56.6910/3/2023
57.7810-18-2024
58.0110-20-2025
57.4411/16/2026
57.4611/18/2027
57.4311/21/2028
57.8912/1/2029
12/7/2030
57.1612/9/2031
57.3312/11/2032
57.2212/15/2033
12/18/2034

Research is crowdsourced and was shared by a friend in a local bourbon group. Organized by John Boehnlein and Brandon Joseph.

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.

Nose – Silver 88 out of 100 Points

Rich figs and raisins, cream, leather

Taste – Silver 88 out of 100 Points

Mapley-syrupy goodness, light orange peel, a little bit of that leather from the nose

Finish – Silver 88 out of 100 Points

Long, pleasant, some fruit comes back into the picture

Verdict – Silver 88 out of 100 Points

Tasting notes shared with permission — Tyler – The Bourbon RN

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

Light caramely, gold in my Glencairn glass. Smoke Wagon Small Batch has medium viscosity and good legs.

Nose – 89 out of 100 Points

The nose has the goods. I love using a Glencairn topper letting the whiskey sit for a bit before I start. Removing the topper, I smelled caramel, cinnamon, and some stewed pears with baking spices. Nose in the glass reinforced those flavors. The bourbon came off sweeter but with recognizable Smoke Wagon savory, baking spices notes. There’s also a vanilla pudding note hiding in there.

Taste – 87 out of 100 Points

Made for a good ol’ Kentucky Chew. Small Batch has a great mouthfeel. Super creamy with baking spice prominent on the side of the palate with just hints of burned oak, and black pepper round out the back of the palate experience. It reminded me of drinking a Mexican horchata. My horchata could’ve used a caramel drizzle with a splash of vanilla. Missing some caramel and vanilla from the nose on the palate. That would’ve rounded out the profile.

Finish – 86 out of 100 Points

The finish is on the short side of medium but it’s more horchata and a creamy charred oak note.

Verdict – Silver 87 out of 100 Points

The Bard Silver 300px

Smoke Wagon Small Batch is a fantastic drinking experience for those who love a high rye bourbon. The nose has admirable complexity and balance. Some of that is lost on the palate and finish but don’t hesitate to stock in your cabinet and enjoy with friends.

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 out of 100 Points

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

Taste – 85 out of 100 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 out of 100 Points

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

Verdict – Bronze 84 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Bronze 300px2021

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 of the sweet and floral notes — hot summer day with a cigar.

Smoke Wagon Single Barrel Store Picks

Smoke Wagon Single Barrel Store Picks
Barrel NumberAgeProofWarehouseRetailer/ClubStore Pick Name
302122WC5
3038 Years121.6WC5Argonaut Liquor
3048 Years124.5WC5Over Priced Bourbon/Bourbon PeepsYa Done Good A-A-Aron
3058 Years122.95280 Whiskey Society/Davidson’s LiquorTombstone Skin That Smoke Wagon
3078 Years123.6WC5Total Wine Vegas
3088 Years125.7WC5Binny’s
3098 Years122.2Grape Press LiquorChug That Smoke Wagon See What Happens
3108 Years124WC5Liquor World VegasWoo This Isn’t For Everyone/Chile Pepper
3118 Years126.5WC5Dad Chasing Bourbon IG/Players ClubDeath Certificate/Advisory Barrel Strength Content
3128 Years124.9WG521 KingsThe Kings S.I.P
3138 Years123.2WC5Kenwood Liquors
3148 Years122.2WC5K&L Wine Merchants
3158 Years124.5WC5Warrior LiquorJoe Exotic
3168 Years124?
3178 Years123.6Collective Pour
3188 Years124.2Cypress Craft Beer and Liquor
3198 Years123WC5Total Wine Vegas
3208 Years124.4WC5K&L Wine Merchants
3218 Years125WC5Antioch
3228 Years122.2WC5Liquor Barn
3238 Years122.3WC5Las Vegas Whiskey Drinkers & Collectors
3248 Years122.1WC5Del Mesa LiquorZig Zagon
3258 Years124.6WC5Total Wine Vegas
3278 Years122.7WC5Chips LiquorSmoke Time Smoke-a-Cola
3288 Years121.4WC5Bub City
3298 Years122.4WC5Gold Eagle
3308 Years123.4Colorado Springs Bourbon Society/I-25 CollaborationThank You For Being A Friend
3318 Years123.2WC5Sip Whiskey
3328 Years122.2WC5Central Wisconsin Bourbon SocietyCheech and Chong Up In Smoke
3338 Years125.7ODWS
3348 Years122.7Columbia Bourbon CollectiveCBC Premium Pick
3358 Years124.3WC5Off Premise ChicagoThe Bull Barrel
3368 Years124.8WC5Lukas LiquorThe Antidote
3748 Years116WC4Garfield’s
3778 Years113.7WC4Liquor LineupCasino
3898 Years113.3Colorado Bourbon Rye Collectors
3918 Years112.6WC4The 75The Magnificent Seventy Five
4998 Years112.86WC4CFS 9.20Canal's Family Selection (NJ)
5008 Years114.6WC5Total Wine Vegas
5018 Years113.4WC4Joe’s Beverage Warehouse/Joe’s Bourbon Society
5028 Years112.72WC4NYC Barrel
5038 Years111.3NYC Barrel
5048 Years113.4WC4Roc EliteThe Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
5058 Years115.6Spec’s
5068 Years116.84WC5Astor Wines & Spirits
5078 Years115.8Spec’s
5088 Years117.54WC5Pascale's LiquorsGrateful Dead Dancing Bears
5098 Years114.6WC5Spec’s
5108 Years116.6Spec’s
5118 Years112.4Spec’s
5128 Years116.8Spec’s
5138 Years112.5Spec’s
5148 Years115.2Spec’s
5158 Years114.5Spec’s
5168 Years114.22Exit 9 Wine & Liquor Warehouse
5178 Years115WC5Spec’s
5318 Years114.22WC5Arlington Wine & LiquorWhiskey Club Battle Royale!
5328 years116.72Bayway Liquors
503413 Years107.3Dallas Fort Worth Whiskey ClubBigger And Better
530312 Years114.5Village Green Market
536811 Years113.2WG4Total Wine
537010 Years110.6Total Wine
537110 Years109.8WG4Total Wine
53729 Years111.8BellagioHarvest
537311 Years114WG4Total Wine
537610 Years114.1Bellagio
537810 Years110.7Total Wine
538311 Years111.8Costco
538610 Years113.4WG4Total Wine
538710 Years114.1Total Wine
538910 Years114.3Total Wine
539110 Years110Total Wine
539210 Years114WG4Total Wine
540610 Years112.8WG4Total Wine
541110 Years109.8WG4Total Wine
545112 Years109WG4West Dupont/Prav SaraffHot Box
545712 Years109.7WG4West Dupont/Prav SaraffGold Rush
546012 Years111.4Total Wine
546512 Years111.4WG4Total Wine
546812 Years111.8?
547112 Years113.3WG4West Dupont/Prav SaraffVegas Vacation
547212 Years111.1WG4Total Wine
5506???
552110 Years113.5Wolfgang Puck
552310 Years116.2Total Wine
552610 Years??
552810 Years115WG4Total Wine
553010 Years113.4Total Wine
55349 Years94WG4Aria
55379 Years100WG4MGM
55389 Years100NY NY
55409 Years115.5Total Wine
55419 Years116.7Total Wine
554512 Years135.7WG4Nevada H&CSummer of 1942
55469 Years115.8Total Wine
55479 Years114.7WG4Total Wine
556510 Years116.6Total Wine
556710 Years117.6Total Wine
55729 Years100Wine Warehouse
558413 Years117.4Total Wine Vegas
558613 Years117.28WGSColoradoFirst Chair
559012 Years114WG3West Dupont/Prav SaraffSometimes What Happens In Vegas Ends Up In DC
559412 Years114.1WG3West Dupont/North Carolina Bourbon SocietySay When
559512 Years113.2WG3Crazy Naz Liquor
559612 Years113.9WG3Liquor ExpressJosephine
559712 Years115K&L Wine Merchants
559812 Years113WG3Crazy Naz Liquor/Bourbon Enthusiast
559912 Years108.8WG3Chips LiquorJames Madison
560012 Years114South Jersey Bourbon DrinkersTombstone Go Ahead and Skin It
560212 Years116.4WG3West Dupont/Prav SaraffPrav’s Picks
560312 Years?N/A
560412 Years108.8Total Wine
560512 Years109Louisville Bourbon HoundsTombstone Go Ahead Skin That Smoke Wagon
560712 Years110.6WG3West Dupont/21 KingsOld Elvis
560812 Years?K&L Wine Merchants
560912 Years106.6WG3Liquor ExpressAbigail
561012 Years112.3Canal’s MT EphraimAmerican Dream
561112 Years114.6WG3West Dupont/North Carolina Bourbon SocietyTombstone Skin That Smoke Wagon See What Happens
561212 Years114WG3Crazy Naz LiquorWUF Society
561312 Years112.8WG3Off Premise ChicagoThis Is Not Four Naz
561512 Years113.8Chips Liquor/Bourbon EnthusiastElixir
561612 Years113.5WG3Chips LiquorSnoop Dog Drink Smoke Everyday
563112 Years109.8Crazy Naz Liquor
563212 Years112WG3Louisville Bourbon HoundsTombstone Hell’s Coming With Me!
563312 Years110.3WG3K&L Wine Merchants
563513 Years108.4?
563613 Years108.4Hudson Wine Market/NJBYCSmoke On The Water
563713 Years104.6Liquor World VegasPerfecto Maduro
578912 Years114.3Total Wine
587813 Years113.4Minnesota Whiskey Elite
587912 Years115.14Chips LiquorSmoke on the Water
588013 Years116.1The Barrels and Bottles FoundationMidwest Grain Products MGM Logo
588112 Years117.6WG3K&L Wine Merchants
588212 Years117.6WG3Crazy Naz Liquor
588313 Years118.1ATX Dead Liver SocietyThe Princess Bride
588712 Years118.5Vino Fine Wine/Beast Masters ClubWide Hog Jeans
588812 Years118.2WG3Crazy Naz Liquor
588912 Years115.8WG3Adventures ClubOcean’s 11 Vegas Heist
589012 Years116.4K&L Wine Merchants
589212 Years115.4WG3Vino Fine Wine/Beast Masters ClubHot Pickle Tanning Oil
589312 Years111.4Total Wine
589412 Years116.6Liquor World
589512 Years111.4Total Wine
589612 Years116WG3Crazy Naz Liquor
589712 Years116.8WG3Vino Fine Wine/Beast Masters ClubStachey Mustache Wax
590013 Years120.94WG3El Cerrito LiquorTombstone
590113 Years123.5WG3Apex Volume 1
590213 Years116.4The Brotherhood of BourbonOregon Trail
590313 Years117Someone Say Whiskey
590912 Years114.4WG3Village Green Market
591012 Years115.2WG3Vino Fine Wine/Beast Masters ClubMorning Wood Polish
60008 Years121.8WC5Bourbon Enthusiast
60058 Years122.2WG3Horus Aged Ales
60067 Years120.8WC5Trevor's Place
60077 Years 11 Months119.5WC5West Dupont/21 Kings BountyYoung Elvis
60087 Years 7 Months120.9WC5Chips LiquorWhere There Is Smoke There Is Fire
60098 Years123.6WC5Moreno’s LiquorBarky Blinders
60118 Years122.5WC5Atlas Valley
60128 Years122.5WC5HB Liquor
60138 Years122.3WC5Off Premise Chicago
60158 Years121.7WC5Bourbon Enthusiast

Research is crowdsourced and was shared by a friend in a local bourbon group. Organized by John Boehnlein and Brandon Joseph

Smoke Wagon Single Barrel Bourbon 8-Years-Old

  • Selected by: Columbia Bourbon Collective
  • Warehouse WCS
  • Barrel 334
  • 61.35%
  • 122.7 Proof

This Smoke Wagon Bourbon 8 year single barrel has great glass coverage with ribbons of oily legs.

Nose – 94 out of 100 Points

This bourbon has deep, rich caramel notes buttressed with cinnamon glaze on flaky pie crust. I also get notes of tart apples and cherries. Plus you know it’s high proof. But the word to describe this nose is luxurious.

Taste – 91 out of 100 Points

The palate is a bit muted compared to the nose. I’m let down a bit. I wanted all that deep, rich flavor to carry over. It’s creamy charred oak. Most of the flavor hits back and top of the palate. It’s toasted cinnamon and black pepper. You do just a hit that rich caramel but it disappears quickly because the heat that carries through finish shows up.

Finish – 93 out of 100 Points

The finish is long. It’s baking spice, oak, and black pepper.

Verdict – Silver 92 out of 100 Points

The Bard Silver 300px

I can’t believe I’m saying this but the proof got in the way of some of the flavors on the front and mid-palate. It’s a solid 8-year-old bourbon with a nose and finish that could knock out most whiskeys. Saying all that, I still prefer this 8-year-old single barrel over the 12-year-old Smoke Wagon bourbon I tried two days prior (review below). Age isn’t everything.

Smoke Wagon Single Barrel Bourbon 12-Years-Old

Smoke Wagon Single Barrel 12 Year

I tried this at a Christmas tasting and forgot to take a picture of the label for the barrel details. Medium viscosity for this Smoke Wagon Bourbon 12 year.

Nose – 88 out of 100 Points

Baking spice. Licorice. Oak. This nose is savory with just a hint of that licorice sweetness.

Taste – 94 out of 100 Points

Charred oak. Vanilla. Baking spice.

Finish – 93 out of 100 Points

Baking spice. Sweet charred oak. Black pepper.

Verdict – Silver 92 out of 100 Points

The Bard Silver 300px

This 12-year-old Smoke Wagon bourbon was a treat to drink. The nose wasn’t bad. It was more of a preference thing. The licorice, oak, and baking spice wasn’t my favorite flavor combination. But the palate and finish didn’t disappoint.

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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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Comments

2 Comments

  1. Alex

    What makes the 57.73 abv batch of SW Uncut a “special blend”?

    Reply
    • Matty Sims

      That’s a great question, and honestly, I’m not sure. The data was crowdsourced from the Smokewagon IG account. My guess probably something Aaron said as he videoes each blend. If you don’t follow him you should.

      Reply

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