Sippin’ Back on Costco’s Small Batch Bourbon

Over the past year, Costco has been making noise in the alcohol market.  In Georgia, they are legally allowed to sell liquor, but it is shop separated from the rest of the building.  I can only assume that they have done this to side step the liquor laws in Georgia.  It was a good call!  They have some pretty awesome prices for the spirits, especially if you are looking for a steal when it comes to handles.  When I buy Scotch, I can usually find the best deal here for some reason.

While Costco has been in the sales game for awhile with alcohol, they have most recently started using their Kirkland Signature label for branding their own alcohol. Whether it is beer, wine, or vodka, you are usually getting another brand’s leftovers or they struck a deal with a distillery for a certain portion of their product at a discount rate.  My curiosity had been sparked by their step into the bourbon market.  America’s liquor (it has its own law requirements) has become more and more popular over the past few years in the small batch arena, following the trend of craft breweries it would seem.

I have been waiting to try this bourbon for awhile, especially after reading all of the mixed reviews.  Now, there is mixing bourbon, and their is sipping bourbon.  When it comes my taste, I prefer sipping it neat.  The other intriguing part about all of these reviews was that you could land a liter of this stuff for about $20.  Sounds like a steal, right?  Needless to say, when we had a small reunion this last weekend with four of my brothers in town at the same time, I was pretty pumped to break into this bottle with the men of my family.  Costco Bourbon

My dad and I are really the whiskey drinkers of the family.  He has a heart for Scotch and mine leans towards bourbon.  We were both able to enjoy the first two pours, neat of course, and sat to talk about it (the women rolled their eyes.)  Before I judge a bourbon, I really like to enjoy the pour from start to finish.  Sometimes your mouth just needs to adjust to the alcohol content and flavors involved to give the liquor a proper final score.

As we sipped, I looked over the Kirkland Signature bourbon stats on the bottle.  Their marketers hit the nail on the head with the bottle design.  It resembled the rest of the mid to high end small batch distillery bottles that I have seen.  The label reads, “Kirkland Signature Premium Small Batch Bourbon.”  It says that the bourbon is aged 7 years and comes in at 103 proof (51.5% abv).  Generally, that is a little higher than my liking for sipping bourbon.  Rumors behind the Costco bourbon point to Jim Beam as the manufacturer of this concoction.  I usually don’t go for JB when it comes to sipping whiskey.  Despite the bad reviews on this product, the higher alcohol content didn’t bother me.  I had read reviews about the strong oak taste, but it wasn’t overwhelming at all.  Perhaps it is the fact that my nostrils have been scorched from drinking 35 year old Scotch a month ago, but this bourbon was fairly smooth.  My dad agreed.  It really wasn’t that bad like a few of the popular bourbon blogs had said before.

The final verdict was that it wasn’t our favorite, or worthy of winning any awards, but it was a pretty good deal for a sipping bourbon.  I would feel completely fine with serving this on a cigar and football night with my buddies, or packing it up for a hunting trip weekend.

What does it compare to, in my opinion?

What would I rather have for similar prices?

 

Have you had the controversial Costco bourbon?  What do you think of it?  Drop a line with us and leave a comment!

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About the Author Kevin

Kevin Ekmark is the CEO at TrustWorkz, Inc., the co-owner of En Pointe Designs, and the Co-Owner of The Trot Line. He was born and raised in Georgia. Kevin loves peanut butter, bourbon, the outdoors, football season, and rare meat... Oh, and anything with bacon.

Comments

  1. If you make a conversion to 80 proof in a 3/4 liter, it comes out to about $11.50 a bottle. Not bad for a 7 year old bourbon. The taste is a little sharp (although good) and may not appeal to neat sippers, but the good bourbon flavor holds up incredibly well as a mixer. Try it in an old fashioned, whiskey sour or a manhatten – even with coke or ginger ale. Different bourbons for different purposes. My favorite sipping bourbon is Maker’s Mark, but when mixed with club soda is not so good, while Four Roses is good with club soda. I’ll keep plenty of Kirkland on hand for mixed drinks and MM for sippin’

    • Frank,

      Thanks for the great info. I agree. Not bad at all!

      We’re doing a few write ups on Four Roses soon… They are one of Kevin’s favorites!

  2. The gentleman who worked at the Costco Bottle Shop (technically Perimeter Liquor)told me that the Kirkland Bourbon comes from Woodford Reserve, but in order to bottle and label it as Kirkland, it must be tweaked a bit. Not a bourbon drinker, so I can’t add my 2 cents on the taste/quality, but my husband and son have given it high marks for an inexpensive sipping bourbon.

  3. Good post. I came across this sometime last year but decided to do some Googling before actually buying a bottle. Most of the stuff I read pointed to it most likely being some kind of Knob Creek blend of some sort. So the Jim Beam rumors would make sense in that case. I’m looking forward to picking up a bottle next time I’m at a Costco that carries liquor (weird Massachusetts liquor rules).

  4. andrew betancourt says:

    i bought a bottle of this bourbon from Costco, San Francisco, for $20 plus 8.5 sales tax. Its a great bourbon whisky and I highly recommend it. Pull the cork off, take a good smell. You will see that it doesn’t need all sorts of complex descriptions, if I were a liquor salesman, I would be touting this brand at 103 proof as a good american product.

  5. I was a makers mark fan but no longer this product does it for me

  6. This bourbon is good, but you can’t really compare this to Maker’s Mark. Maker’s Mark is heavily wheated bourbon and Kirkland bourbon has much more corn. Two complete different styles. Keep drinking and keep reading! Love your website.

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  1. [...] thank you Costco for saving my taste buds from another typical experience (again). Costco has a pretty dang good variety pack in stock right now of its Kirkland Signature brand [...]

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