Situated along the banks of the Ohio River in Owensboro, Kentucky, the Medley Distilling Company is stewarded by Charles and Sam Medley, a father-and-son team who represent the seventh and eighth generation master distillers in their family. The Medley's roots run back to the birth of Kentucky bourbon; while Reverend Elijah Craig is usually credited with producing the first bourbon whiskey at his mill in Lebanon in 1789, the Medley's ancestors were distilling whiskey prior to that time in the adjacent county in Kentucky. In fact, except during the thirteen years during which distillation was outlawed in the United States, a member of the Medley family has been operating a distillery continuously since 1812.
Following the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, Thomas Aquinas Medley began distillation and maturation of a new bourbon in honor of his family's rich history. Thomas died shortly thereafter, but the Medley Distilling Company continued to produce Kentucky bourbon for the next five decades. Today, under the tutelage of Charles and Samuel Medley, the distillery continues to distill bourbon using the same recipes and techniques that the previous generations of Medleys perfected decades ago.
Wathen's Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is made from a mash of corn, rye and malted barley. After the grains have been harvested, they are milled and mashed before being fermented with an eight-generation old yeast strain (the unique strain of Medley Family yeast has been inherited by each generation of Medley's since the 19th century, and remains a closely-guarded family secret). Following fermentation, the wash is distilled through a copper-pot still before being aged in new, charred American oak casks under the Kentucky sun.
After the bourbon has matured for approximately eight years, Charles and Sam Medley taste each individual cask to determine when it is ripe for bottling. Since each bottle of Wathen's Single Barrel Bourbon is bottled from a single cask rather than being crafted from a batch of casks, each bottle of Wathen's is slightly different and entirely interesting.
The Medley family has a long storied history when it comes to bourbon distillation. They’ve been a family of master distillers going back 8 generations. In fact, they play up that fact front and center on the label of this bourbon with a big number 8, which at first glance can almost be mistaken for an age statement. However don’t let that 8 on the bottle fool you into thinking it’s an age statement, this is most certainly a NAS Bourbon.
This bottle of Wathen’s Single Barrel (Barrel number 5833) uses the standard mashbill that all of the Medley bourbons use: 77% corn, 10% rye, and 13% malt. While Charles Medley distilled bourbon up until the late 1900’s, the Medley family now sources all their Bourbon. This Wathen’s Single Barrel is a NDP bourbon with research pointing to the fact that the Medley family contracts out their specific mashbill to be distilled. While no distillery is confirmed, most people assume that Heaven Hill is the one filling the contract. That being said, any distillery could theoretically produce this bourbon to the specifications of the Medley Family.