Whiskey lovers, rejoice! There’s a new heir to the whiskey throne, Milam & Greene. If you like whiskey, then you will love Milam & Greene, brought to you by the team behind Ben Milam Whiskey and a new partner, whiskey goddess Heather Greene.
Launched on Sept. 17, 2019, Milam & Greene is the new flagship product. The Milam & Greene brand represents the direction the company is moving in the future. And the future looks bright.
This will be the first whiskey produced at the distillery in Blanco that the company sells outside of Texas. Milam & Greene Triple Cask Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Straight Rye Whiskey have the potential to become highly competitive nationally. These whiskeys are lush, complex, exquisite, and true deals at their price (under $50 per bottle).
Thank you to Milam & Greene for hosting me at their launch party for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.
Meet Milam & Greene
The brand is named for Ben Milam founder and partner, Marsha Milam, and her new partner, CEO, and renowned master blender, Heather Greene. Their partnership is a match made in whiskey heaven.
If you don’t believe me, then ask the angel on the gorgeous new label! The angel represents both the “angel’s share” of whiskey that evaporates from the barrel as the whiskey ages, and victory. Launching Milam & Greene’s Triple Cask Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Straight Rye Whiskey aged in port casks is a victory for this team.
Both of the Milam & Greene options are smooth and rich whiskeys perfect for sipping neat or on the rocks, yet not too precious to mix well if you prefer cocktails. The brand exudes the look and taste of luxury, and spoils you. Your palate will demand to be treated this well always.
The Dream Team
Like Nick Fury assembling the Avengers, Marsha Milam has worked to build her own team of whiskey superheroes for the past few years. These women and men are the most experienced whiskey-making team in Texas. Greene explained, “There’s more than a half- century poured into each bottle. It’s a true American whiskey with a Texan heart.”
In the whiskey-making process, the ingredients are similar to a beer at first. Turn left, beer. Turn right, whiskey. The mash quality, therefore, makes a difference down the line.
For this reason, Milam recruited a chief brewer, Jordan Osborne. Osborne came to Provision Spirits with solid experience. He’d worked for an award-winning brewery prior to moving to the Blanco distillery to work with Milam.
Next in the process comes distilling, and Milam scored a major coup again when she scooped up Marlene Holmes. Holmes is a master distiller who worked with Jim Beam for 27 years. Surely when Holmes left her native Kentucky for Texas, a collective, shocked gasp was heard around the whiskey world.
As Provision Spirits’ first 100 percent made-in-house distillate was appropriately aged in American oak and ready for its close-up, it was time to figure out the perfect blend. Blending is another vital part of the process, and this is where the rubber meets the road for the last time, before the whiskey is bottled and released.
Naturally, Milam had one more surprise up her sleeve. World-renowned whiskey authority, whiskey writer, and master blender, Heather Greene, came down to consult for the distillery. This in itself was further proof that Milam and her team were investing in the best minds (and noses) in whiskey.
Partners in Spirit(s)
Fast forward to 2019. Savvy, smooth-talking Milam had convinced Greene to abandon her beloved New York City for warmer climes, a partner’s stake in the company, and roles as CEO and master blender. And of course, Greene’s name on the newly launched Milam & Greene whiskeys.
Greene sat down and spoke to me a bit about the process leading to the 2019 launch of Milam & Greene bourbon and rye. She spoke of how the real magic of whiskey happens, between distilling, batching, barreling, blending, and finishing.
“We’re embracing the full whiskey-making arts. Distilling itself is a pre-requisite. There’s so much more that goes into it. We’re adding value or beauty to the Texan whiskey by blending the best American grains and distillate with our own to make the best tasting whiskey,” Greene explained to me.
This means that while Milam & Greene is finally using the first distillate made at its own distillery, the company is also open to using the best grains and batches to blend from across the country. For example, say the team wants more creamy vanilla notes at one point. Greene would find them and blend them in. This is more in line with the European roots of traditional whiskey-making.
The rye is aged in a port cask, so it soaks up the lovely dark color from the port and some of the notes of plum, yam, and cinnamon. Aging whiskey in Texas is another unique part of the process that the Milam & Greene team is hyper-aware of.
“Texas is a wiley enviroment,” summarized Greene. With the intense heat and humidity, obviously whiskey ages differently here than it would in, say, Kentucky, Houston, or Scotland.
The central Texas environment affects the flavor and rate of maturation, plus evaporation is a big deal. Greene explained. “We’re fast; we’re furious; we’re robust; we’re feisty in our whiskey-making here in Texas Hill Country.”
Greene, with her extensive history studying, working with, and writing about whiskey, is a bottomless fount of whiskey knowledge. With experience working with whiskey makers in Scotland and cognac makers in France, and as a whiskey sommelier in New York, she understands the process from start to finish, inside and out, and emphasizes the importance of taste leading to the best possible end product. I could listen to her for hours, learning so much about this ancient, complex spirit, and how all its bits and pieces go together.
Milam & Greene bourbon and rye whiskeys are poised to hit the national market as strong players in the ever-growing whiskey game. Bottling and launching these whiskeys may be the end of a long process, yet this looks to be the beginning of a beautiful, powerful partnership.
Find Milam & Greene in fine liquor stores, bars, and restaurants across Austin, as well as at the distillery tasting room in Blanco.
2218 US 281 N., Blanco, TX – Website
@theAustinot wants to know:
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