Veteran Bourbon Review: Bluenote – Crossroads Straight

Distillery

B.R. Distillery

Mashbill

60 % Corn, 36 % Rye, 4% Malted Barley

Age

NAS

Proof

100 Proof

Purchase Price

$45

Official Product Website

History – Blue Note Crossroads is made at B.R. Distillery in Memphis Tennessee.  B.R.(Big River) Distillery claims to be the oldest, licensed distillery in Memphis. Founded in 2014, that’s quite the statement. “We are a craft spirits and beverage company with two flagship brands and a host of private label brands. Our products can be found in fine liquor stores, restaurants, and bars across the United States.”- B.R. Distillery. Blue Note Crossroads bottle label states, “This unique expression combines the unmistakable boldness of Blue Note bourbon with the sophistication of the finest, toasted French oak curated from an artisan cooperage in Centre-Val De Loire. Taste in every sip the unforgettable intersection of notes that embody the inherent spirit of the blues. The sound and movement of the blues were meant to break the rules. This is Blue Note Crossroads.” This bourbon won the 2022 Ascot Awards Gold Winner from the American Spirits Council of Tasters and the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Double Gold Award.

Value – Anywhere from $40-$50 depending on your store and area. I purchased mine for $45.

Appearance – This bottle is filled with a light amber colored bourbon with a corked top. The bottle shape is very plain and reminds you of a shorter wine bottle.  Maybe this wine bottle design is on purpose, hinting at its toasted French oak curated from France theme. The bottle has the highway signs 61 and 49 on the label, which is a tribute to “The Devil’s Crossroads” in Clarksdale, Mississippi. According to a local Mississippi legend, this is the intersection where Robert Johnson made a deal with the devil, selling his soul to play blues guitar like no other. So we have Memphis Blues, French Oak, and Mississippi Crossroads…alright.

Nose – The aroma is very light. You don’t get slammed in the face by any alcohol and it has a very faint charred oak smell. There is some sweetness present, a very light touch of vanilla and caramel. Anyone would like this aroma because it’s so light, delightful and is there to give you a tease of what you are about to taste.

Palate – The initial sensation is very pleasant. You get a soft, smooth, and almost buttery feeling in your mouth. The flavor has a quick hint of sweetness with some vanilla bean. You notice some charred oak flavor, at the end, but again very quick and light. The delightfulness comes mostly from the friendly, soft feeling of the bourbon in your mouth.

Finish – This bourbon has a brief hotness in the finish. It’s only there for a second or two, then goes away. This is where this bourbon loses me. As soon as that burn goes away, you lose all your sweetness and are left with a lingering oak flavor that just isn’t appealing. It makes you want to take another sip to experience that smoothness again, but afterwards it’s just disappointment. You keep drinking it to avoid that aftertaste.

Summary – This bourbon drinks differently than a lot of other bourbons I’ve had in the past. I can see why it won its awards in 2022. It’s incredibly smooth, easy to drink, light nose and doesn’t burn your throat very long.  Overall it’s not bad. I would say it’s fantastic if it wasn’t for the finish. You absolutely have got to end strong. You can’t run the marathon and give up in the last mile. In its defense, this does seem like a young bourbon to me. If they aged it more, it may end up having a better finish while hopefully not changing the other characteristics I like so much. I do wish that B.R. Distillery would be more transparent with their process and age statement. For the price, I probably won’t purchase Crossroads again, however, I’ll be looking out for a Crossroads with an age statement in the future. I think the people at B.R. Distillery are working on something outstanding.  


“If you are looking for a smooth drinker, look no further. However, the finish is where this bourbon really lacks and may ruin the experience for you. Give it a chance and keep sipping. Due to its smoothness, I think this bourbon will be amazing in mixed drinks. I’ll be looking for products from B.R. Distillery in the future when they have some age on their bourbon. I think this company has some great potential.”

– John McGowan

5.7

Uniqueness – 1-10 – 6

Appearance- 1-10 – 5

Nose- 1-20 – 12

Palate- 1-20 – 17

Finish- 1-20 – 4

Value- 1-20 – 13

Reviewed By:

John McGowan on 9/4/2022

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