Drink Review: Broken Bell Small Batch Bourbon

October 6, 2020
2 mins read

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A hand-crafted bourbon, made in small batches and hard to find outside the USA.

Broken Bell Small Batch Bourbon Review:

Broken Bell is a handmade bourbon aged in once used American Oak barrels for 3-4 months. The distilled hooch comes from a mashbill containing 70% corn, 23% rye, 7% malted barley, and is bottled at 45% ABV.

Broken Bell Small Batch Bourbon Review:

Nose -:

Lots of smoke, leather, vanilla, toffee, and a little caramel. There’s also a hint of wild cherry or maybe sweet maraschino cherry liqueur.


Smoke, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, and pepper. There’s a subtle citrus in the background. I also detected raw grain, grapes, almond, gummy bears, and a hint of banana.

Finish :

Cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, smoke, wood, warm malted barley, and leather. There’s also a little hint of caramelized sugar and ape juice.

Broken Bell Small Batch Bourbon Review:

Broken Bell Bourbon is delicious! It’s really complex, but very smooth and eloquent. It’s clearly somewhere in between an American whiskey and a Canadian rye and doesn’t quite fit squarely in either category. It’s not as high rye as a Canadian rye, but not exactly like a Virginia style bourbon either. You could say it falls right in the middle of both. It also has a very subtle smokiness that shines through at first sip, and with each sip the smokiness becomes stronger and stronger and becomes the defining characteristic about half way through. Finding this at a bar in the USA is easy enough, but not so easy in Canada, because this tasty American whiskey is not available in Canada. Go figure. It’s a damn shame. So, if you get a chance to try this fine product, do it and do it soon. A fine product at a fine price.

A true sipper, slow and steady wins the race.

Juran: I was a bit skeptical when I first opened this bottle because the aroma is quite strong. Key word: SMOKEY! After a coupe sips, the aroma does grow on you and it eventually opens up very nicely. This is a really good sipping bourbon and I will definitely be buying me a full bottle. Very nice.

Kenneth: A little smoky, a little spicy, very good. It lingers a bit on the palate and palate and is overall very nice — not a common characteristic of a “small batch” bourbon to have this much character.

Bruce: The nose is smoky and a little nutty. There’s a lot of leather and charcoal notes on the palate, and the finish is meaty and long.

Thomas: I get the smokiness fine, cinnamon, and caramel right away. I thought it at first to be a good, but not great, bourbon. As it opened up more, it got better and better. This is a good, yet somewhat deep, bourbon.

Broken Bell bourbon rating:

Juran :

Nose -: 4.0 Palate: 4.0 Finish: 4.0 Total: 12.0 pts


Kenneth :

Nose -: 4.0 Palate: 4.0 Finish: 4.0 Total: 12.0 pts


Bruce :

Nose -: 4.0 Palate: 4.0 Finish: 4.0 Total: 12.0 pts


Thomas :

Nose -: 3.0 Palate: 3.5 Finish: 4.0 Total: 10.0 pts

The Maker’s mark for Broken Bell Bourbon

In summary, although I’m a Canadian and I don’t have a favorite American whiskey, this is the best American whiskey we’ve ever tasted.

Rick, who headed up the Ottawa Bourbon Club, has just returned from a marvelous trip to Kentucky. He first sampled high-end whiskeys in Louisville at the Jim Beam Distillery. He then continued on to Bardstown in Kentucky where he toured the Buffalo Trace Distillery and also visited the Wild Turkey Distillery.

The distilleries and hotels in Bardstown seemed to be celebrating the beginning of the Kentucky Derby, which starts next month on the first Saturday in May.

Buffalo Trace used to produce very little Wild Turkey, as the two distilleries were owned by two different companies, but they’ve since been united and Buffalo Trace now bottles Wild Turkey for the Canadian and American markets.

I’ve heard it said that now the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. If you want to sample some fine bourbon in Canada, you need to order it online and pay the duty and taxes on it. Now my wife and I are planning a trip to Kentucky in the late spring.

If you’re a fan of fine whiskey, I highly recommend an organized trip to Kentucky. It’s high time we brought the The Bourbon Club of Ontario out of hibernation and made it the best whisky club in Canada and a huge success.


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