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The discourse around modern whiskey tends to be about extremes. Either a bottle is among the worst someone’s ever had or the best. There’s little room for “simply good.” As much as I enjoy a whiskey that knocks my socks off, I tend to gravitate toward the bottles that are good yet balanced. The bottles that I could — hypothetically — drink on a daily basis. I’ve come across several whiskeys and bourbons that fit that category but a new entry in my book is Big Nose Kate Western Whiskey.

Named for the historical Mary Katharine Horony, Big Nose Kate is a new whiskey brand that celebrates the myth and mystique of the Old West. The original Big Nose Kate has been more or less lost to time despite being a prominent figure in the lives of such legendary characters as Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp. Big Nose Kate was a prostitute by trade and was involved in many of the glamorized events of the Wild West, not least of all the Shootout at the O.K. Corral. Co-founder and master blender Melissa Heim created this whiskey to celebrate the unsung legacy of women like Big Nose Kate.

The whiskey itself, packaged in a striking and stylish bottle, is a blend of rye and malted barley and displays a lovely amber color. The nose offers a touch of spice along with smoke, vanilla, caramel, and toasted bread. The flavors, while full-bodied, are not overpowering. It’s one smooth, balanced ride with notes of stonefruit, vanilla, cinnamon, and oak. Overall, it’s a very good sipping whiskey that, while it might not blow your mind, is a welcome addition to your bar cart.


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