Sour Mash Manifesto

Bourbon and American Whiskey


“Sip it and dream — it is a dream itself. Sip it and say there is no solace for the soul, no tonic for the body like old Bourbon whiskey.” – J. Soule Smith

Sour Mash Manifesto was created with a pretty simple mission in mind: To provide relevant, usable content to whiskey consumers of all levels and expertise, share my passion for American Whiskey, and be a trusted whiskey resource for readers.  It has been many years since the site was active with consistent content, and for that I apologize.  However, it is my hope that you will find some of the reviews, educational posts, and industry-related stories relevant still today.

During the last decade the whiskey industry in America has transformed and grown (understatement!), producing more whiskey than at any point in our history.  All the while, the popularity of Bourbon, Rye, and American Whiskey of all types has never been hotter, more in-demand, or mainstream.  When this website started almost a decade ago, it was altogether different industry.  It has been fantastic to watch, and tough on the wallet!!!  Such is the case of supply and demand.

Whether or not Sour Mash Manifesto will become active again remains to be seen.  The world has too many blogs and publications on whiskey as it is.  However, as mentioned, the site was never started out of “need” and more out of a passion for a fantastic product (and all that goes into its creation).  Given that, who knows if or when it will crank back up again.

Until then please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.  Thank you for visiting.

Drink your Whiskey!

Jason Pyle
Sour Mash Manifesto
Phone: 615-406-6026

NOTE: Whiskey is something to be respected, not abused. Please enjoy it responsibly if you are of legal drinking age.


  1. thanks for bennie wylie! he’s already made a few of the texas players who were used to NOT working out throw up. exactly what texas needed after the regime of the jeff “fatdog” madden (he did nothing).

  2. We’ve gone through more Strength and Conditioning coaches than we have Head coaches, and you know how many that is! ; )

    It sucks losing Bennie, he just got it. He worked out with the guys, knew what they could take, when they needed a break, etc. etc. The man is an insane dude when it comes to S&C. Replacing him will be tough. It’s a reminder how far we’ve fallen. The other UT called and he went. Of course he’s from Texas so I suppose I understand.

  3. The “other UT” – why, that’s what we say in Texas about y’all! LOL!

    Bennie is putting the boys through their paces now. GOOD. They should finally be in shape and live up to their potential.

    I hope the other UT will recover from Kiffin soon. I’m still waiting for the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation into Auburn, its boosters and banks. The SEC adds spice to college football in more ways than one.

    Back to bourbon – spotted a few pewter top WTKS that needed to be in my bunker. I’m not as successful as Greg when it comes to dusty hunting (but then again, who is? That man is the benchmark when it comes to dusty hunting) but I do have a blast.

  4. Jason –

    I really think you are doing a great job with the site. I only discovered it about 2 months ago, but have been using it as a steady resource of information. I’ve always enjoyed bourbon but it wasn’t until this summer that I was struck with an insatiable itch to really delve into everything bourbon and really understand all the complexities of the tastes I was experiencing. About 2 years ago I made my first trip up to bourbon country. It was my bachelor party and I brougth a group up to Louisville for the 8th Annual Lebowski Fest and made sure to set up a VIP behind the scenes tour of Woodford’s distillery. That place really made me see first hand the painstaking process (really a much smaller operation than I imagined) to bring it to market, and how the history of the drink is woven into the fabric of America. Even the historical nature of the distillery itself had me impressed. And of course the confidence that they had in their product and pride in their industry, sitting us at a boardroom-esque table and having us sample not only Woodford, but Wild Turkey, Makers, and Knob Creek, explaining the differences between all the products, and letting us decide what our favorite was. So I guess each summer is my anniversary of indulgence so to speak, with this great beverage. I’m currently enjoying the Willet, Booker’s, Rittenhouse Rye, and Knob Creek. I also think the Ancient Age 10 is a great value and underated brand.

    Keep up the great work. It is easy to see when someone has a passion about something.

  5. Adam, thank you for the comment! I greatly appreciate it. I love that you too share such a passion for whiskey and bourbon and the time and hard work it takes to make a great whiskey. Your point on thinking Woodford and others are much bigger than they are cannot be underscored enough. While certainly not considered “small”, these types of operations, along with Four Roses and many others, are still very much growing. It’s an exciting time for American whiskey with more new products hitting the market each month.

    And that sounds like a hell of a bachelor party! Thank you for the comment. I appreciate your visiting the site – keep on sipping!


  6. Hi Jason,
    Just wanted to say thanks for such an invaluable resource. I’m over in the UK and as such, Bourbon or any american spirits are significantly more expensive. It means that it’s not so easy to just pop out and grab a bottle. I’ve got about 20 in my ‘collection’ at the moment and I’ve learned a lot about them by listening to your reviews and trying to pick out the scents at the same time.

    I’m considering a move to the States to further my knowledge and shelf but alas, I don’t think my wife shares my enthusiasm!

    Thanks again and I look forward to your next post


  7. Danny, I just want thank you for checking it out. It means a lot. I appreciate the comment also. I have heard nothing but horror stories about the cost overseas. I’m sorry to hear that, but seems you’ve managed to amass a solid collection in spite of that. I’m a big fan of whiskey values so I’m working on some things to help shed more light on that. Cheers to you Danny!

  8. Hi Jason,

    I have only recently discovered your site, but I must say this has become my go-to resource for comparing notes with my tastings. I’m only beginning to develop the sensitivity needed to give decent evaluations, but your reviews really help explain alot of what I experience as I expand my tastings. Thanks so very much for making this available, and please do explore more of the bottom shelf bourbons and ryes. My budget cannot usually justify more than $30 per bottle, so having a clearer picture of how you have rate these would be much appreciated. Lastly, I look forward to you reviewing a Beam rye product called R1. I tried this in a bar and was really impressed with its body and smoothness…so much so that I sprang for the $40 price tag. It wasn’t quite as smooth as I remembered it in the bar however, which is too bad. Thanks again for all you do! Scott

  9. I Recently (past year) became an enthusiast of American Whiskey, soon after I stumbled upon your website which I now use as a guide for trying my next bottle. Absolutely enjoy the reviews, and wealth of knowledge; I must admit, though, that some times I wonder if you are being soft on some reviews… Love what you have going here. Keep it going, I’ll be a reader for years to come. Happy Holidays, and New Year!

  10. Javier, thanks for the comment and the honesty. I appreciate your visiting and glad you’ve gotten some good insights from the website. Each review I do I approach it with as much fairness and balance as I possibly can. It’s a sharp edge many times between giving my readers/visitors the honest opinions on products that they come here for, while at the same time respecting these products. I believe strongly that I can give honest reviews that stay true to my readers without just berating products unnecessarily.

    Also, it’s worth noting that this is perhaps one of the best times ever to be a whiskey enthusiast. Sure there are products that are bad out there, but they are most times the exception to the rule. There’s such a high percentage of at least good whiskey, which is why it’s so fantastic when something really approaches Excellent territory and beyond.

    Thanks again for the comment.

  11. Jason Just bought a bottle of Jesse James American Outlaw Bourbon. I know marketing sold me after watching the Full Throttle Saloon tv series (true tv sturgis ). What the hell is it and who is making it and why did I buy it ? Any info would be great
    Paul – Kansas

  12. Paul, I’m sorry, but I’ve not had the Jesse James Bourbon yet, but I hope it doesn’t let you down. Let me know what you think!

  13. I’ve just stumbled upon your site looking for reviews of St George’s B&E. I’ve been a whisky enthusiast for around a decade, and a writer who I have found to be very helpful to me is Jim Murray(Whisky Bible). His scoring is all over the place but he is appreciative of almost everything. I notice this in your reviews too, you give them time and admire the qualities even if they aren’t mind-blowing. I find most of what is available in stores(at least where I live in Canada), is enjoyable and has its time and place. I enjoy Scottish blends from time to time, occasionally I like more expensive single malts like Laphroiag and have enjoyed the milder Irish and Canadian blends, but most often I like to drink bourbon for its full warm flavour and for the quality it is more affordable than Scottish single malts. Favourites of mine have been Russell’s Reserve, Knob Creek small batch, and Elijah Craig 12 yr Old. I have recently acquired bottles of Knob Creek Single Barrel, Bakers, Bookers, and Breaking & Entering(Christmas was good to me!), which I am gradually getting into. In the future I will check out some Canadian rye, the super cheap Alberta Premium scored really well by Jim Murray.. anyway, I’m rambling.. I have read most of your reviews and watched several videos now, you seem to really know your stuff. I enjoy the background knowledge you share about the distilleries and insight into the production of bourbon. I will follow your website. Thanks for the good work!

  14. Daniel, thanks for the comment. I really appreciate it. Honestly my approach to each whiskey is that one mans junk is another mans pleasure. I can provide my thoughts and give my assessment but there is no need to bash a whiskey to the point that it’s unnecessary. The score and the comments stand alone. I try not to be excessively harsh. Some might call that soft, but I just don’t see the point in handling it another way.

    I like the favorites you mention. All are good. I’d recommend trying Elmer T. Lee – it’s in that price range of the 3 and very good. Four Roses Single Barrel as well.


  15. Hi Jason,

    I live in Australia i can never find the expensive bourbons and whiskey in the AU $40-100 Price Range. Over a course of 2 Months i have while listening to your reviews and doing it myself a bit of a comparision. So i bought Buffalo Trace (Namesake) , Makers Mark, Wild Turkey 86.6 Proof for some reason that i dont think you reviewed that yet , Wild Turkey Rare Breed and Russells Reserve and yes i will mention this website to cousin Sam and hes friends cause they just love there bourbon / whiskey btw im 19 in legally allowed to drink in Australia. Sorry for going on But there is no Pappy Van Winkle in Australia . Keep up the Great Reviews your inspring to be a bourbon enthusiest.

  16. Jon, thanks for visiting and commenting man. Thanks also for mentioning the site. I do appreciate it.

    Cheers to you in Australia.


  17. Hi Jason,

    I was just wondering if you had a position (or were planning a post) on the hot-button issue of eBay sales of hard to find bourbons such as the Van Winkle products.

    On one hand, the practice decreases the availability of the limited releases to the general consumer and drives up prices in the secondary market. However, it also offers an opportunity for people who either don’t want to get on a waiting list or live in states where its unavailable.


  18. N – great question. I hadn’t planned on it until your post. My thoughts are simple though – I hate it. Whiskey isn’t meant to be an investment and it’s not meant to be bought and sold for double, triple, whatever. It’s meant to be enjoyed. If these folks weren’t doing that so often, so many that really want to try a Pappy or whatever would have an easier time doing so at a fair price.

  19. Jason I am a big fan of your reviews – specifically the whiskey/distillery information that is included. Keep ’em coming!

  20. Sevens, thanks a ton!

  21. Just got back from Louisville, KY on Tuesday. Did the bourbon trail tour and also visited Buffalo Trace. Brought back several bourbons that I cannot get here in NC. Rock Hill Farms. Elmer T Lee, W. L. Weller, Town Creek, Jefferson’s Reserve and a couple others. Your reviews are very interesting and informative. As I delve into these new bourbons I’ll try to give some feedback and I’ll share your site with other Bourbon enthusiast friends. Keep up the effort.

  22. If you had nothing on your site but the review of Elijah Craig 12 Year, it would still be worth the visit.

    The only bourbon I ever had much to do with was Jack Daniel’s Black Label. It’s certainly very good to my taste but I was drinking margaritas, martinis, and micro-brewery beer mostly and didn’t drink bourbon often.
    On occasion I’d try a random bourbon and usually be disappointed and so I’d give up bourbon for another six or eight months before trying again.

    I don’t recall how I found your site (probably Google) but I’m so glad I did. Your review of Elijah Craig 12 prompted me to buy a bottle ($22 here in Ohio) and I was blown away by the amazing taste of the stuff. Thanks for revealing to me the best bang-for-the-buck bourbon I’ve ever had the pleasure of sipping. I’m certain your educated palate will give me some other great bourbons to try but I will certainly come back to E. C. 12 again and again.

    In fact, I’ll be tasting some tonight while watching “Dexter” and my favorite drama, “Homeland”.

    Btw, I’m embarrassed to remember how long it took me to try bourbon neat instead of on the rocks. The difference is amazing.

  23. Jay, thanks for visiting. Cheers to you!

  24. Hi Jason,

    First of all great site, it’s very useful for looking at all the different brands and flavours and lots of info on them.

    I’m fairly new to bourbon, I recently tried makers mark and I quite liked it. I’m looking for your advice for a bourbon that would give me an experience of a spectacular bourbon, one that is something of a teaser, to grow my taste to try different flavours.

    Thanks Jason,

  25. If it weren’t for you Jason, I might not have gotten into bourbon the way I am. Your reviews are so thoughtful and comprehensive that it has really helped guide me to some amazing bourbons. I now have a collection of over 45 bottles including multiple bottles from the BTAC, a few PVW’s, several Four Roses styles, Parker’s Heritage, and Jefferson’s Presidential Select 18, just to name a few. Keep up the amazing work!

  26. Gdub – I enjoy hearing that. Glad that you have gotten into it and are enjoying the journey. There’s so much out there and it’s fun to explore these new whiskeys. Keep sipping!

  27. Jason, have you seen Clontarf? It’s Irish whiskey aged in bourbon barrels.

  28. Hi Jason,

    I enjoy most all premium bourbons I try. In the everyday sub $30 category I usually reach for Eagle Rare and Woodford. I’d appreciate your thoughts on what this means about my preferences, what else I might like, and where I should look to evolve.

    Great website and thanks for the help.

  29. I have just discovered your website. I have not read all the responses here, though I can say that I will be a frequent follower. I love the site so far.

  30. Jason – how about a Rowan’s Creek review?

    p.s. – I’m loving the value on the Elmer T Lee (was $28 in the store here in Atlanta today but I swear it was ~$23 a few months ago).

    Also, the $20 rebate on handles of Larceny Bourbon puts 1.75L at $17!! They allow 2 rebates per household so I’m sending rebates to relatives houses now!!!!

    Keep sippn’!!

  31. Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell
    and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear
    and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to
    tell someone!

  32. Hey Jason, I recently found your page and am really enjoying it ! Thanks Buddy

  33. Thanks so much for your passion, insight and time. Your site has been bookmarked! I’m amazed by how accurately you can describe the tastes and smells I experience but am woefully incapable of describing myself. Keep up the good work and let your readers know if you need any support to keep things going

  34. Jason,
    Great site! Do you have any thoughts Abraham Bowman? Also, I just had the James E. Pepper 1776 Rye. I think it is an LDI product. Very much worth a go. Keep on sipping!

  35. You are AWOL. We need another review!

  36. Jason, you have been my go-to blogger ever since I rediscovered American Whiskeys a couple of years ago. While I apparently do not share the exact same pallet as you, I highly respect your opinions! I wanted to mention that I think I found a bottom shelf gem in Early Times 354 and would like your review. I am also curious on your opinions of Scotch Whisky, personally I don’t understand the hype. Thanks a lot.


  37. Please do a review on fighting cock bourbon by heaven hill…another inexpensive 103 proof bourbon that in my opinion is one of the best under $20 bucks. A wild turkey 101 contender. Which do you think is better?

    I’d be very interested in your review as it is not on your site.


  38. Jason, found your site within the past 6-9 months and now spend entirely too much time here. Thanks. With Christmas coming up…and personally a birthday…my wish list consists solely of Bourbon. I’d love to have your thoughts on some bottles in the $75-$100 range. This is out of my normal price range for bourbon, but within range of the wife’s Birthday/Christmas budget. Specifically, I was looking at the 2014 release of the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection, the Sonoma-Cutrer Finish. Worth the $99 price tag, in your opinion?

  39. Danny S.–Re the Early Times 354, I recently found it after looking for a year or more. With my (extremely) limited bourbon budget I spend a lot of time and $ looking for lower-shelf gems, and I was not disappointed with the ET354. It has a very gentle but prominent corn flavor with decent barrel notes, almost like a smooth corn whiskey. My only complaint is the watered-down feel of it in all respects; if it were 90 or even 100 proof, I think it might rival the best Dickel bourbons.

  40. I love this site. Some of the most honest reviews online!

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