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Green River Distilling Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Review: A Pour of Pot Still Patience

Green River Kentucky Straight Whiskey

What's this? Green River, a distillery once integral to the distribution of medicinal whiskey during prohibition getting revived for a new era of glory? Abso-freaking-lutely!

Despite holding one of Kentucky's oldest DSP numbers, Green River Distilling Company only recently experienced its revival. Not long after releasing their first bourbon in 2022, Bardstown Bourbon Company purchased the distillery. To date, Green River distributes to 25 states with a portfolio that includes Rye, Wheated, Single Barrel, and, most recently, Full Proof expressions.

So, what's the big deal? Just another distillery pushing whiskey into the market, right? Well, I'm glad you asked, dear reader— For curiosity is the way when the spirit of whiskey is our guide. Notably, Green River utilizes pot stills, a traditional method of distillation renowned for their ability to produce spirits with rich flavors, complex profiles, and a distinct mouthfeel when done right.

Whiskey Acres 7 Year Bourbon Whiskey

Green River's craftsmanship of pot still distillation ensures that "each batch of whiskey reflects the heritage and expertise passed down through generations." By adhering to these traditional methods while embracing modern innovations, Green River's whiskey-making pushes boundaries while upholding Kentucky bourbon's time-honored traditions.

I, for one, fully support the "movement" into pot still appreciation!

So, to those distilleries breathing life back into brands that once thrived before or during prohibition, I am cheering you on! To those distributing vintage labels with a modern take, a round of applause goes to you! And to the brave few ushering in pot-still craft expressions that chip away at the column-still fortress, may the sky be your limit. Or the stars. Or the moon. The what-have-you's. I'm here for the abundance of passion and risk-taking if it is in the name of good whiskey.

Now, you might wonder if Green River's intentional efforts in whiskey-making are worth exploring. From what I've tried, I certainly think so! Their whiskey has been consistently fairly priced for you to find out for yourself too. The standard bourbon is one I quite enjoy, and at the proof point that still embarks a range of flavors without burning the roof of my mouth down, it's easy-sipping, plain and simple. I also own and have opened a single barrel offering. At 119 proof, it's the epitome of a Kentucky hug. As we trend up in proof, I wonder will this full proof blend embark into a land of too much heat? Let's pour this bottle and find out!


Company on Label: Green River Distilling, Co.

Whiskey Type: Bourbon Whiskey

Mash Bill Percentages: 70% Kentucky-grown corn, 21% rye, 9% malted barley

Proof: 117.3°

Age: 5 years

Further identification: A blend of 5, 6, and 7-year bourbon bottled at barrel strength; this is now available at an MSRP of $49.99 as of June 2024


Note: The first inhale makes it clear this is a proof-forward whiskey; hello, heat! Pushing past the proof, the nose moves into an abundantly sweet territory, oodles of gooey caramel covering freshly popped and buttered corn. The oiliness on this nose is incredible, and swirling the liquid in my Glencairn leaves swoon-worthy legs against the side of the glass. The swirl also brings out spices: cinnamon and clove, with stone fruit, perhaps a cooling cherry pie nearby, with a dollop of whipped cream melting on top. Goodness, though, the creamy characteristics are just lovely, and the unassuming richness is quite approachable, like hanging up a decadent overcoat and slipping into something more comfortable. Now that we're settled in, it's time for a sip!

Returning to the nose after a taste ushers in much more spice, black pepper, and leather, with orange peel casually walking by. Muddled berries folded into soft rising dough, honey, and a whisper of tobacco enter later in the glass, and is that... a whiff of root beer? I think so. The empty glass smells of partially dried mud and hay.

Palate: Huh. Okay. That's one way to get noticed. Cardamom and licorice are front and center and not what I was expecting. Thankfully, those two make a quick exit. Cherries, graham crackers, caramel, and vanilla come in hot as if they knew the opening act was subpar. Speaking of hot, this sip is definitely that, perhaps a bit more than the proof suggests but wow, my mouth is coated in velvet. The oily nature of this sip cannot be understated. A few swirls release a bit of heat and allow softer notes to shine through: black tea, citrus, and honey. The finish brings in leather, slightly drying oak tannins, and a tobacco linger that lasts for quite some time. The flavors remain where they stand on this stage of sipping, even as I taste late in the glass. And while the journey of flavors is complimentary, the nose seems to have oversold the palate, unfortunately.

TL;DR: a full proof filled with promising potential if balance can be restored


Rating: 3/5

The creaminess on both the nose and palate captured my pot-still-loving heart. However, the proofy heat and drying finish kept this sip in the mid-range of appreciation. This blend was a promising first run, and I look forward to future releases from Green River. I believe there will come a day when pot-still whiskey will overtake column-still productions (a girl can dream, okay?) & Green River is clearly contributing to that renaissance effort.

Jes Smyth - Pu


With what started as a genuine curiosity for the “water of life,” fiction writer and published author Jes Smyth has nurtured her enthusiasm for whiskey ever since. From learning the vast history of whiskey making to celebrating the passion of the industry, she tastes each sip with intention and purpose while expressing the intricacies of whiskey in a relatable and heartfelt way. She is thrilled to be a contributing writer for and hopes her words will resonate with those ready to explore the beautiful world of whiskey.



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