George Remus Gatsby Reserve: A Premium Bourbon with a Fascinating Age Statement


Andrew Graham here with another review, and this time I want to share my thoughts on the George Remus Gatsby Reserve. As you may know, George Remus is one of the remarkable brands produced by MGP, the renowned distillery on the Indiana-Kentucky border. While commonly recognized for their contract distilling operations, MGP also holds a treasure trove of exceptionally aged bourbons, which often goes unnoticed. The Remus Repeal Reserve VI has already turned heads, and now the Gatsby Reserve makes its grand entrance into the premium, high-age-statement bourbon category.

Unveiling the Specs

Let’s delve into the specifics. The Gatsby Reserve is a 15-year-old whiskey, bottled at a cask strength of 97.8 proof. I couldn’t help but ponder the barrel entry proof and its implications on aging. MGP bourbons are rumored to enter the barrel at 120 proof, and over time, the humidity affects the whiskey’s proof. Consequently, it’s no surprise that after 15 years, the Gatsby Reserve sits just below 100 proof. Interestingly, Michter’s, another player in the premium, high-age-statement bourbon market, boasts a lower entry proof of 103. Yet, their 20-year bourbon, purportedly at barrel strength, lands at a formidable 114 proof. This apparent contradiction merely underscores the intricacies of whiskey maturation.

Understanding the Barrel’s Role

The barrel itself is a living entity, imbued with both water and alcohol. As seasoned enthusiasts know, the whiskey gradually evaporates from the barrel, but the aging conditions dictate which component is more prone to evaporation. In a hot, dry environment, water evaporates more rapidly, allowing the alcohol to concentrate. Conversely, a warm, damp climate retains the water within the barrel, while the alcohol seeks an escape. Meanwhile, a cool, damp setting curbs evaporation altogether. With these variables in mind, consider the location of the barrel within a rickhouse. A barrel hoisted on the top floor, exposed to scorching summers, runs the risk of becoming a potent Hazmat whiskey. Conversely, a barrel resting in the ground floor of a brick rickhouse gradually loses alcohol content throughout the summers.

The Bourbon Experience

Now, let’s shift our focus to the Gatsby Reserve itself. Upon first nosing, I encountered the aromas of fresh wood and delightful creme brulee. While the nose may not be as robust as its predecessors, namely the Repeal Reserve IV and VI, the flavor profile more than compensates for any perceived shortcomings. Notes of toffee, milk chocolate, cherry cola, and tobacco dominate the palate, with a hint of pistachio and a subtle touch of smoke. The tannic and bitter finish leaves a dry sensation in the mouth, accompanied by distinctive nuttiness and charred undertones.

Price Point and Availability

As for the price, the Gatsby Reserve carries a suggested retail price of $200. However, landing a bottle at that price may prove to be quite the challenge. Realistically, one might need to explore secondary markets or retailers who mark up rare expressions to secure a bottle, potentially at twice the original price or even more.

That wraps up my review of the George Remus Gatsby Reserve. This premium bourbon showcases the expertise and craftsmanship synonymous with the brand. For those seeking an adventure into the world of aged bourbons, the Gatsby Reserve is certainly a worthwhile endeavor.

Ambassadeur Hotel