After consuming a lot of non-Kentucky bourbon, our group decided to set our sights more locally. The assumption was that if whiskey made outside Kentucky can be just as good as the standard, and in some cases even better, than certainly the people of Oregon who are known for their beer-making skills could create a tasty whiskey. However, it was harder to find bourbon from Oregon than expected, and nothing really stood out from the rest after some research.

The best part of this day was the weather. We had some sun, a horse shoe pit, a disc golf net, and a grill. With that in mind, here’s our reviews.

Stein Bourbon 5 year – Overall – 5.42/10 – burn – 5.28/10

(Specs) 5 year aged | 40% or 80 proof | 750 ML $39.95

(Distiller) Stein Distillery, Oregon

(Notes) There were no overlapping profiles, but common mentions were that the flavor wasn’t all that unique or complex. Some flavors that were discussed include lemon, soft, butterscotch, buttery, field of sunflowers, honey, ginger, pickle juice, and apple.

(Finish) The aftertaste wasn’t all that fantastic and some notes were that it reminded them of a glass kiln or licking a battery. There was one mention of it being similar to an elbow to the nose and profuse bleeding afterward.

(Thoughts) Nobody hated this one, but the consensus was that nobody would ever pay almost $40 for another bottle. There are plenty of substitutes for a bourbon of this profile that come in above the 80 proof mark with better flavor profiles at half the price.

 Stein Rye 5 year – Overall – 6.6/10 – burn – 4.7/10

(Specs) 5 year aged | 40% or 80 proof | 750 ML $39.95

(Distiller) Stein Distillery, Oregon

(Notes) Rye is always going to bring a different range of flavors than other whiskeys, and we’re aware of that. Finding anything made entirely in Oregon is hard though, so we opted to include this one.

The most frequently repeated note was that it tastes like black tea. Also mentioned were notes of buttermilk, coal, caramel, maple syrup, wood, cinnamon, ballpoint pen ink, the smell of antique shops, and black olives.

(Finish) There was a bit of a disagreement about the burn. It seems the beginning wasn’t that bad, but the burn afterward was compared to Arizona heat. There were many comments about how smoky the finish was.

Ransom Rye, Barley, and Wheat Whiskey – Overall – 3.87/10 – burn – 4.75/10

(Specs) 2 years + | 46.7% or 93.4 proof | 750 ML $53

(Distiller) Ransom Spirits, Oregon

(Notes) Universally, we enjoyed the scent of this spirit. A few people admitted to scoring this higher than they believed they should have because they read about it first and it sounded appealing. However, in hindsight nobody had even the notion of wanting to drink this again.

Here are some of the notes used to describe this whiskey..onion, salty, rotten wine, raw cow hide, cleaning supplies, gasoline, burning newspaper, shoe polish, farm smell, stainless steel, gunpowder, firecrackers, croissants, recycled air, white pepper, burnt money.

(Finish) Most comments were similar to these notes – lingering, cigarette mouth when you wake up after smoking too much, and strep throat.

(Thoughts) My personal opinion was that this was just about the most retched fluid I’ve ever consumed. I tried to give the bottle away and had trouble getting rid of it. In fact, I think someone used it as a shooter for someone who lost a game at a house party and that’s all anyone could use it for. I even tried drinking it another time with a clean pallet to really try and get why anyone would buy it and it simply got worse the more it opened up.

Alchemy Bourbon Whiskey – Overall – 6.14/10 – burn – 4.43/10

(Specs) Age unkown | 40% or 80 proof | 750 ML $27.95

(Distiller) Cacade Alchemy, Oregon

(Notes) There were multiple mentions of this whiskey being minty. Other notes included caramel, ocean breeze, citrus, spices, and sage wood.

(Finish) While several mentions included a ‘cool’ sensation, the overall synopsis that the aftertaste was bland and that it felt watered down. A couple notes included sugar and absinthe as tastes.

(Thoughts) I was able to meet the makers of Alchemy and discuss their whiskey a bit, and they were nice enough guys so I included it in our tasting. A large volume of the distillate is made out of the state and the ingredients are definitely not local. It’s not a bad bottle and it’s worth trying at least once if you’re looking to support a small local group of whiskey makers. With some time, maybe they can get it right, but this one didn’t really knock anyone’s socks off.


Needless to say, unless we have a really good reason for it, our club won’t be revisiting Oregon whiskey in the near future. From bland to downright disgusting, there’s no reason any of us could come up with to ever pay the price required to drink any of this.

The good news

The weather was great. We decided to go outside, smoke cigars, and grill pizzas.

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