In a nutshell: An ancient recipe revived for the modern palate. The David Nicholson 1843 is a wheated whiskey with a gentle, earthy profile which is sweetened by caramel and cinnamon. It can be hard to come by in the UK, so keep your eyes peeled.
The brand: David Nicholson bourbon is named after its creator, a man who would distill whiskey in the backroom of his grocery store in St. Louis, beginning production in 1843. Fifty years later, a legend of the bourbon industry, Julian ‘Pappy’ Van Winkle, began working with Nicholson, distilling the 1843 recipe at the A. Ph Stitzel Distillery. In 2000, the David Nicholson 1843 recipe was bought from the Van Winkle family by Luxco. The whiskey is now being distilled at the Lux Row Distillery in Bardstown.
The bourbon: The David Nicholson 1843 is a wheated bourbon, that is to say that it is made with a healthy dose of wheat in the mash bill. In this, wheat makes 20% of the recipe, corn 68% and malted barley the remaining 12%. Wheated bourbons are often softer and sweeter than their counterparts because wheat typically takes the place of rye in the mash bill. Rye imparts a spicier, more peppery character to a whiskey. Perhaps the most coveted wheated bourbons in the world are the ones produced by David Nicholson’s sometime collaborator, Pappy Van Winkle.
The wheated nature of the David Nicholson 1843 is evident on the nose with an earthy quality coming to the fore, flanked by gentle oak and caramel notes. Caramel dominates a smooth and gentle palate, kept awake by warming baking spices. Cinnamon leads the baking spices out before toasted oak closes the show, dominating a lingering finish.