Since moving to Colorado in 2020, all I’ve heard from Denverites is how cool and fun the breweries are. There are a lot of them, and people love going to hang out at them. They are fun…. but in my experience, the beers aren’t that great. Over the years, though, I’ve come to explore more of the Colorado distilleries. To my surprise, a lot of the whiskey distilled out here is wonderful.
Today, I’m looking at Axe and the Oak Bourbon, distilled out of Colorado Springs, CO.
We’re going to discuss some of the history behind this new craft distiller, and then we’re going to look at the whiskey. Is it good? What does it taste like? Is it worth buying?
Axe And The Oak Distillery launched in 2013 by three friends – Jason Jackson, Casey Ross, and Eric Baldini. They had a shared love for music and whiskey. Jackson, who was already a singer/songwriter, teamed up with his friends to also become a whiskey distiller.
Previously, Axe and the Oak Bourbon was blended with MGP whiskey and aged less than 2 years. Today, Axe and the Oak Bourbon is seemingly distilled in-house and aged three years. They are even in the process of building a 2nd distillery in Ft. Smith, Arkansas.
- Spirit: Bourbon
- Owned By: Jason Jackson, Casey Ross
- Distilled By: Axe & Oak Dsitillery
- Aged: 3 Years
- ABV: 46%, 92 proof
- Mashbill: Unknown. Made with corn, malted rye, and malted barley
- Price: ~$35-46
While at least a portion of the whiskey in this bottle is distilled by Axe & Oak, I’m curious if another Colorado distiller is responsible for some of it. The bottle says “produced and bottled” by Axe and the Oak. It also says distilled and blended in Colorado Springs, but I can’t find another state listed as where the whiskey is distilled.
Another thing to note is the price. Axe and the Oak Bourbon is only available in certain states. Here in Colorado, I can find it for as low as $32, but in Kansas it’s closer to $45. I haven’t seen it listed for sale in any other states.
Lastly, let’s discuss the mashbill. I tend to love whiskey with malted rye – Chattanooga Whiskey 111 and High West Rendezvous Rye are just two examples. In a bourbon mashbill, we usually just see rye grain used with corn and malted barley.
Rye isn’t usually malted. First, malted barley is there to provide the enzymes for fermentation, so more malted grains aren’t needed. Second, rye is harder to malt than barley. We’ll see if the extra work/money spent on malted rye pays off.
Axe And The Oak Bourbon Flavor Profile
Alright, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s jump into the important stuff. Is Axe and The Oak Bourbon good? Time to pour myself a dram and find out!
Nose: Lots of oak, hickory, sweet vanilla, baked apple, and cinnamon. Overall, a very pleasant nose.
Palate: A lot of hickory and cinnamon spice on the palate. Some barrel char and roasted corn make it’s way in. There’s not a lot of complexity or depth here, but the flavors come on strong. Moderate mouthfeel.
Finish: The spice fades away quickly leaving lots of vanilla bean and dry oak.
Taste Summary – Is It Good?
I like Axe and the Oak Bourbon. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t contend with any of my favorites, even at the $35 price point, but it’s an enjoyable sipper, and a touch of water or rocks will tame some of the cinnamon spice, letting some of the fruits and vanilla shine through.
At $46, I’m staying away from this bottle, but $32 for this craft whiskey is well worth it. Sure, I’d rather drink Balcones Pot Still Bourbon, but it’s something new and decent enough to give a try.
Axe and The Oak Bourbon isn’t my favorite bottle of bourbon out there, but it’s definitely not bad. I’d recommend a splash of water or rocks, though, as it’ll tame some of the spice.