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Whiskey Acres 7 Year Bourbon Whiskey Review: A Testament to Patience & Authenticity

Whiskey Acres 7 Year Bourbon Whiskey

Located in DeKalb, Illinois, is an estate distillery quietly and passionately pursuing the art of craft whiskey growing. With transparency as their headwind and the first estate distillery in Illinois, Whiskey Acres is a true seed-to-spirit operation that is committed to not just making but growing authentic whiskey. From the spirits distilled on-site to the grain grown in the fields surrounding the distillery, Whiskey Acres ages and bottles everything themselves, and pride themselves on never using sourced whiskey for their products. Ever.

What else sets Whiskey Acres apart from the other craft distilleries in Illinois? In an interview on, Nick Nagel, a fifth-generation farmer and co-founder of Whiskey Acres, believes the answer lies in agriculture.

We grow all of our own wheat, corn & rye and soon all our own barley. We have total control of everything that ends up in the bottle. We may be the only folks who grow rye in Illinois for distilling. We are definitely the only distillery that has an awarded Master Farmer on the team.

He believes that the more consumers who try "the little guys," the more they will trust the quality of the product. Releasing a 7-year bourbon produced by the hands of fifth-generation farmers working the surrounding land is a huge accomplishment, and one Whiskey Acres is eager to share. Again!

Whiskey Acres 7 Year Bourbon Whiskey

I was generously offered a sample of Whiskey Acres' 7-year bourbon to review before its release on July 12th, 2024. This is their second release of what seems to be an annual release now. I chatted briefly with distiller Dan Davis, who was kind enough to share his excitement for this release and general happiness with the bourbon's overall taste as it's matured.

Having bought, opened, and sipped the previous year's release, I am eager to see what Whiskey Acres has up their sleeve this year. So, let's find out, shall we?


Company on Label: Whiskey Acres Distilling Co.

Whiskey Type: Bourbon Whiskey

Mash Bill Percentages: 75% yellow dent corn, 15% soft red winter wheat, 10% malted barley

Proof: 107°

Age: 7 years

Further identification: A blend of 12 carefully selected barrels aged between 7 and 8 years of age distilled by Whiskey Acres from grains grown entirely by Whiskey Acres and aged and bottled by, you guessed it, Whiskey Acres. The MSRP is $74.99.


Nose: So creamy and light, like a whipped strawberry parfait. It's noticeably sweet, with handfuls of nerds' candy and a fresh bag of caramel-covered popcorn at a local summer carnival. A deeper inhale brings in wood spice, sweet and chewy like hot tamale candy. Fields of hay rippling in the wind with the slightest hint of mint leaf quickly replaced the hot tamale candy that had tumbled from the glen earlier. A swirl and sniff bring out lush vanilla frosting and moist caramel yellow cake. It's a lovely development of balanced notes with a creaminess that cannot be understated. Time for a sip!

Wow, the butterscotch coming off the nose after a sip is impossible to ignore. There's a rich chocolate tone now, too, like the perfect mirror glaze on a cake; it's lovely and elegant. Raising my nose after a few moments away ushers in lemon head candy and the memory of movie matinees during the height of sweltering summer afternoons. Late in the glass brings more pepper, a whisper of dried oregano, and a hint of sandalwood incense. The empty glass smells of cooled campfire embers and dewy fields late in the day.

Palate: It takes a moment for the flavors to bloom, but the mouthfeel is chewy and creamy. Once the flavors get comfortable, they reveal fresh-cut strawberries sprinkled with sugar, honey sticks next to mint leaves, bits of melted chocolate from a chocolate pretzel, cracks of pepper, and a tingly ginger finish that coats my entire mouth. A bigger sip brings in clay, earth, and tobacco, as if the flavors entered without knocking first but everyone settles in eventually. Another sip amplifies the fruitiness: sliced apricot and a glass of fresh lemonade. The finish is long, with cocoa powdered puff pastry and lemon iced tea. And oh, the linger! It's all sweet grilled corn, warm in its husk from a summer fair food cart.

TL;DR: a true seed-to-spirit pour that many ought to explore


Rating: 4/5

This release is a beautiful example of what authentic and transparent whiskey-making tastes like when done patiently and passionately. The grain in the glass is not shy or hidden and stands strong for what it is: a true seed-to-spirit sip. Clocking in at 107, a proof I consider my sweet spot, I think Whiskey Acres is onto something just as sweet, and their 7-year bourbon has hit the spot for me.

Sipping through this in comparison to the inaugural release, I found last year's release held richer dessert notes: chocolate, brown sugar, and tobacco on the nose, with caramel, brown sugar, and baking spices on the palate and a slight minty pepper finish. As I am often drawn to dessert notes over fruit, I prefer the 2023 release slightly more. But the fruity notes on this year's release pair perfectly with summer sips, and the balance in both blends shines throughout.

While the bottled-in-bond rye is why I adore Whiskey Acres, these 7-year bourbon releases reaffirm my affection for estate distilled spirits.

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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1 Comment

Wonderful write up of a craft whiskey worth celebrating, Jes! The way you wrote the nose and how the palate, though a late bloomer, decided to layer in so many fun bits down to that warm corn on the cob summer fair treat is why you are one of the best whiskey writers in the business. I definitely want one of these on my shelf too!

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