Fear and Loathing in Woody Creek

Our no-holds-barred review of Woody Creek Bourbon

Many years ago, when I was a much, much younger man,

I discovered and developed a deep and loving relationship with two things: alcohol and literature. Not surprisingly, the relationship has been predominantly one-sided these many years, as I have been the beneficiary of geniuses in both fields, while offering little more in return than undying devotion.

In college, a dear friend from Mississippi introduced me to two of the three greatest things the state of Kentucky has ever produced: bourbon and Hunter S. Thompson (Ali is the third). I mention Mississippi only to illustrate that though hard to locate in a place stuck sometime around 1963, there are oases of culture scattered about.  Though my friend and I fell out of touch twenty years ago, bourbon and Thompson have walked hand in hand with me through life and I have attempted to champion both along the way.

Naturally then, when asked if I’d be interested in doing a spirit review and recipe for a new magazine, I immediately agreed. When told it would be Woody Creek Bourbon, the brand didn’t ring any bells, the name however, rang a very loud one. My questions instantly and unfairly revolved entirely around the location of its production and whether it was the same Woody Creek, Colorado, where the great man lived, worked, and died. It is and it was, and so it is imperative in a publication that boasts “like Hunter S. Thompson working at an Olive Garden,” to acknowledge and tip the cap. There, cap tipped and banalities aside, let’s move on to the task at hand.

Most would agree the market is currently flooded with shitty bourbon. The boom in popularity and consumption in markets around the world is unprecedented in the history of the spirit, and as such, demand has begun to overwhelm supply to the point that your go-to bottle for home consumption has tripled in price. The silver lining of this is that new producers are popping up all over the place and often in more nontraditional (not Kentucky) locations using high quality, locally sourced ingredients. And though most will tell you the best bourbon in the world is still undoubtedly distilled in Kentucky, these new producers in their relatively exotic locations are providing much needed (and often delicious) supply to a market in need.

Woody Creek Bourbon is a fine example of this new trend. Made in Colorado and spending a minimum of four years in new American oak with a deep char, the mash is 70 % corn/15 % barley/15 % rye, and they’ve kept the ABV at a very approachable 45%.  It’s all locally grown in the Centennial State.  The water is from there too and, thank Christ, they never once mention it. It looks good in the glass, deepish gold and amber but still bright, and catches the light nicely, especially after the third or fourth pour. There are some good caramel and honey notes right off the bat, which you’d expect from the time in the heavy char, but you get a little kick of spice in the middle and that gives way to a fairly pronounced, long but pleasant, black pepper finish. Honestly, it’s pretty fucking delightful. If you’re looking to replace, if not in your heart at least on your shelf, that go-to, post-shift, smoke something and unwind bourbon, this is a definite contender. The price isn’t bad at all these days, around 50 bucks a bottle, and though this isn’t an amazing bottle, it is a good one. And good is good.

Moving forward there will be a cocktail featuring each spirit we review. They will be easy to make, even better to drink, and hopefully be delicious as well. Until then we use this first recipe to honor our only recognized national spirit, while recognizing a man who helped voice the spirit of his generation. To bourbon and to Hunter S. Thompson, cheers.


One part good music

One part comfortable chair, preferably located on a porch

One part Woody Creek Bourbon

One part a glass

One part ice, or not

One part Gonzo


In glass combine Woody Creek Bourbon, ice, or not, and use your finger to stir. At this point it is imperative to drink and relax but most of all to enjoy the bourbon and the music and just take the edge off. Refill and repeat….

Hunter S Thompson

Hunter S Thompson | Image by Hunter S Thompson