When I reach for a bottle of bourbon, I’m looking for a good time. I want to enjoy something delicious and interesting in my glass, preferably something unique that I haven’t seen before. And thankfully, this aptly labeled bottle of Good Times bourbon checks all of those boxes.
Good Times is a brand of whiskey produced by the Three Boys Farm Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. Founded in 2013, the distillery is located on a 122 acre farm, and is family owned and operated.
For the Good Times brand, they don’t actually use their own whiskey. Instead, they import spirits distilled at the Indiana-based MGP facility, age them in unique or interesting ways, and then bottle the results under their own label.
- Learn More: What Is Bourbon Whiskey?
As I mentioned, this whiskey is actually produced at the massive industrial whiskey distillery known as MGP. It arrives at the Three Boys Farm Distillery as a ready-made bourbon, meaning that the spirit was made from at least 51% corn (although the specific grain bill is not disclosed) and matured in charred new oak barrels for an undetermined period of time.
Once at the Three Boys Farm Distillery, the whiskey is then placed into barrels that previously used for blackberry brandy and aged in these before being bottled and shipped.
The bottle design is pretty standard and boring: a cylindrical body, tapered shoulder, and a medium length neck with a slight bulge in the middle. The only really distinctive thing about the bottle is that the shoulder is fluted with some slightly indented sections. It’s all capped off with a wood and cork stopper.
Similarly, the label isn’t really anything to write home about. Black text on a white background with the brand information in big letters, it takes up a ton of real estate on the bottle without really providing any character in return.
What is noteworthy, though, is that the bottle is labeled with specific identifiers (bottle number, barrel number, etc) as if it was a single barrel expression. This would be cooler if they did their own distillation and such, but in this case (since it’s just re-barreled MGP distillate), that really isn’t useful information.
It’s the design equivalent of a Ford Focus. And not even a modern one — more like a late 1990’s Ford Focus.
The liquid is a little darker than the average amber color in the glass, but the aromas I get coming off it are pretty common bourbon notes. There’s some raw corn, vanilla, caramel, some baking spices, and maybe just a tiny hint of citrus or rye.
I didn’t get any of the blackberry in the aroma, but I absolutely see it in the taste. It’s the first thing that hits your senses, but in a somewhat subdued and more agreeable level of intensity than you would expect from something like a blackberry liqueur. I think that the brandy cask aging also added some good weight and viscosity to the whiskey, and as a result it almost tastes as off-dry as a cognac. Following that initial blackberry beat are some good baking spices, the caramel and vanilla, and then a black pepper kick at the end to bring it all together.
The black pepper spice is really what lingers long after the spirit is gone. That, along with the blackberry and a hint of caramel, are the extent of the complexity in the finish, and it’s actually quite nice.
Usually, with the addition of a bit of ice, the first to drop out of the flavor profile are the finishing notes. Things that aren’t native to the spirit (esters and raw materials and such) don’t have much staying power. And unfortunately, that’s the case here as well.
I still get a lot of those great high-rye bourbon notes — the vanilla and caramel, the baking spices, and the rye grains and black peppery spice — but the blackberry finish is well in the background. It only really appears near the end, and while it’s still an important component of the finish, it’s no longer is the star of the show.
Cocktail (Old Fashioned)
This is a pretty good old fashioned. I appreciate how the added rye content really helps the complexity and the flavor profile of the cocktail, adding some depth and interesting components that you wouldn’t normally get from a 100% corn version.
The one thing it’s missing here, though, is the blackberry. I don’t feel like that blackberry really adds anything to the conversation. I think I can see it trying to poke its head out near the finish, as it did with the ice, but it gets easily lost in the other aromatic compounds added by the bitters.
Once again, this is good, but not because of anything the blackberry is bringing to the table.
I like a good high rye bourbon for my Kentucky Mule because it adds a bit of a kick at the end of the flavor profile. That black pepper spice is a great addition to the party and really helps elevate the cocktail. So while this is good, there really isn’t anything that the blackberry is contributing to the experience.
What you’re getting here is a good high rye bourbon that has a couple added tricks when taken neat or on the rocks. I think once the cocktails start flowing, you really lose the uniqueness that the blackberry finishing gave to the spirit. Although, at that point — much like escalators that just become stairs when broken — it just reverts to being a good high rye bourbon.
I think that this is worth a try just for the blackberry flavors when taken neat. It’s an interesting flavor profile that I enjoyed, and is worth at least a couple glasses of contemplation. Probably not ideal for mixing… but then again, with a lighter set of ingredients, the blackberry might pop out again. It’s worth a shot.
|Good Times Barrel Strength Blackberry Finished Bourbon|
Indiana, United States
Classification: Bourbon Whiskey
Aging: No Age Statement (NAS)
Proof: 59% ABV
Price: $99.99 / 750 ml
Overall Rating: 4/5
An interesting flavor that’s worth a look, as long as you look past the bottle it comes in.