New bourbon whiskey is always hitting the shelves these days. I’m lucky enough to get to taste the lion’s share of it and (hopefully!) guide you towards the best stuff (and away from the dregs). Frank August Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey was among the recent drops waiting for me at my new address after a very recent move to Kentucky and, having heard a great buzz, I was excited to taste it.
But before we dive into what’s in the bottle, a little context. By the sleek look of the bottle and its website, it’d be easy to assume “Frank August” is a celeb or some eccentric midcentury design-loving CEO. In reality, the name is derived from being frank, or as the brand tells it: “The state of being open, honest, and sincere.” The idea behind the project was to blend the world of traditional bourbon whiskey with modernity in a single bottle — plus it looks cool as hell, which is a nice perk.
There’s more on the horizon as well, a single barrel expression is coming soon from the brand. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s dig into what’s actually inside this very cool-looking bottle of bourbon.
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Frank August Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey
Average Price: $70
The whiskey is a sourced bourbon. The juice is made in Kentucky, where it’s also aged. The team at Frank August then takes roughly ten to 15 barrels per batch and builds this bourbon painstakingly to fit their desired flavor profile. The whiskey is then lightly proofed down to 100 proof before bottling.
The nose is pure classic bourbon with hints of salted caramel with a twinge of soft grains next to spicy cherry syrup, a whisper of sour apple, and a touch of aged oak staves soaked in mulled wine. The palate moves on from the soft grains towards rum-soaked raisins with a warm winter spice matrix — cinnamon, ginger, clove, allspice — before a brown sugar/rock candy sweetness takes over on the mid-palate. The finish is long and sweet with a nice dose of sharp cinnamon and soft nutmeg that leads to a supple vanilla cream with a thin line of dry cedar and tobacco spice just touched with dark cherry on the very end.
The bottle is really eye-catching with an art-deco vibe, good heft, and the subtlest label in the game. This is sleek modern style at its best and that stopper is 100/100.
This feels like a good sipper (on the rocks) that also would make a killer Manhattan or Sazerac.
89/100 — This felt like a strong handshake to the brand. It’s a hearty introduction that hits “classic” notes. It doesn’t try to take you anywhere new, but that’s natural — you have to walk before you sprint. Overall, this is a winner and certainly has me excited for what’s next from the team behind Frank August.