I can remember when the "vodka boom" happened in the liquor industry. Being in the business myself and having a preference mostly for brown spirits, I found there to be something disingenuous about convincing people to pay premium prices for an un-aged product made from any ingredients. It was a marketing fiasco, with all attention being paid to packaging rather than the liquid inside the bottle. Kind of like brand name logos on the outside of clothes.
Thankfully, that bubble burst, and an interest in whiskey took its place. I will admit to being a little put off by the hipster popularity of rye and Bourbon, but with that popularity came a slew of great new options at all price points. In the affordable category, Medley Brothers is a new favorite.
Medley Brothers was a product sold originally in the 1940s and 50s, recently relaunched by Charles Medley Distillers. It's the kid brother to Old Medley 12 Year Old. Younger barrels are selected and blended, then bottled at an old style 102 proof. Medley Brothers wear its strength well. It's a rich, chewy bourbon, with plenty of tobacco bitter cocoa flavor to temper its inherent sweetness. You can sip on it straight, but I find I like best as a classic whiskey sour, shaken with the juice of half a lemon and half a teaspoon of sugar. When the mint starts growing I'll throw a few torn leaves in for garnish.
Medley Bros. isn't getting the hype of Pappy Van Winkle, Black Maple Hill, or even Buffalo Trace, and that's a good thing. Hiding out on a lower shelf at your local store in a frumpy looking bottle with a plastic twist off cap, at $24.99 its worth every penny. Here's hoping they'll make enough of it that supply doesn't dry up as soon as people discover it. (I'm looking at you, Old Weller Antique).