Review: Northern Latitudes Deer Camp Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Deer Camp BourbonThis review has been conducted as part of a blind taste test to determine the best Traverse City Bourbon.

Product Details

  • Producer: Northern Latitudes Distillery (sourced from MGPI)
  • Location: Lake Leelanau, Michigan
  • Name: Deer Camp Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Classification: Commercially Sourced (from MGPI)
  • Specific Characteristics: N/A
  • Age: No Age Statement (We were told 3.5 years at the distillery)
  • Proof: 86
  • Michigan Minimum Shelf Price: Not distributed – $29.99 at the distillery

Tasting Notes

Smell: An initial smell of butterscotch gives way to a mixed floral and alcohol scent. Lesser earthy scents of cinnamon and nutmeg show through after sitting for a couple of minutes.  Although the alcohol scent may lead one to believe this is a 90+ proof Bourbon, it smells smooth and well blended.  We don’t pick up on any fruit fragrances.

Taste: The taste of butterscotch on the tip of the tongue moves to the back of the tongue where we pick up a nutmeg taste.  It lingers here with a slight bitter taste, eventually moving back to the front of the mouth once more.  It finishes with a salty and spicy taste on the tip of the tongue, with a noticeable bite in the back of your mouth.  There is a lingering, dry oak taste that detracts from the overall taste.


This Bourbon smells fairly complex, but we are left waiting for the sophisticated flavor to develop.  It moves around the mouth well, but still seems as if something is missing.  If the flavor had a little more depth as the smell indicates it might, this would be a much higher scored Bourbon.

Recommendation and Score

Recommendation: I would recommend this Bourbon as a shot or mixed into a cocktail. It is just a little lacking to be recommended as a sipping Bourbon.

Score: 82 out of 100 overall.


Review: Mission Microdistillery Civilized Bourbon Whiskey


This review has been conducted as part of a blind taste test to determine the best Traverse City Bourbon.

Product Details

  • Producer: Mission Microdistillery
  • Location: Traverse City, Michigan
  • Name: Civilized Bourbon Whiskey
  • Classification: Small Batch
  • Specific Characteristics: N/A
  • Age: No Age Statement (We were told 3.5 years at the tasting room)
  • Proof: 80
  • Michigan Minimum Shelf Price: Not distributed – $34.99 at the tasting room

Tasting Notes

Smell: This Bourbon has a very strong corn smell which can’t be missed.  As the corn gives way to an alcohol scent, it leaves one with the sense that they have just smelled a straight corn “moonshine” rather than a Bourbon.  These two scents overwhelm the palate leaving room for little else, but a slight floral fragrance does eventually show through.

Taste: Somewhat shockingly, the first flavor tasted was a maple syrup-like sweetness on the tip of the tongue.  This sweetness quickly mellowed some into a strong corn flavor, and gave way to little else.  After swallowing the spirit, some earthy spiciness finally shown through.


This Bourbon is not very complex, and really shows its youth.  It is noticeably sweet first on the tip of the tongue, then tastes like a hot corn “moonshine.”  It doesn’t dance around the tongue at all, but rather finishes mostly on the roof of the mouth.

Recommendation and Score

Recommendation: I would not recommend buying this Bourbon at this price point, as much better can be found for the same price or less.  This is disappointing to say, as it is one of two Bourbons actually distilled in Traverse City.  In fact, sadly, that may be the only reason I would buy another bottle.  If you are a fan of moonshine, you may find it more enjoyable.

Score: 71 out of 100 overall.

Four Roses Discontinuing Limited Edition Single Barrel

One of our favorite products is going the way of the dodo!  Originally reported by Fred Minnick yesterday, Four Roses is apparently ending the annual release of their Limited Edition Single Barrel offering due to a shortage of high-quality aged barrels fit for use in this product.  The good news is that they seem to be leaving the door open to release it on a more irregular schedule “for special commemorative bottling occasions only.”  The Limited Edition Small Batch offering seems to be unaffected by the news.

Traverse City Distillery Visits

Over this past holiday weekend, we took a mini vacation to see what was new with the distilleries in Traverse City.  We visited the Grand Traverse Distillery tasting room, the Mission Micro Distillery Tasting Room, Northern Latitudes distillery, and the not-quite-open Traverse City Whiskey Co. distillery. Below is a quick summary of each, and in the coming days we will be featuring full reviews of the Bourbon each distillery produces.

Grand Traverse Distillery


Location: 781 Industrial Circle, Suite 5, Traverse City, MI 49686 (distillery); 215 E. Front St., Traverse City, MI 49684 (tasting room / shop)

Our visit was to the tasting room on Front St. in downtown Traverse City, as it is new since the last time we visited.  Opened in September, 2014, it is a large welcoming tasting room.  From the street there is large vertical “Distillery” sign and a miniature still in the front window.  It is certainly enough to grab the attention of any passersby.


Once entering you are greeted by a large open space which serves as a gift shop.  Items include tasting and nosing glasses, various types of shirts, wooden crates with the distillery logo, seasonings, and more.


In the far back of the storefront is the tasting room area.  There is a lounge-type area with a couple chairs, then a large bar with full-wall bottle display behind it.  Though they distill a couple of award-winning Vodkas, they also produce both Bourbon and Rye Whiskey that are distilled and aged in-house at their distillery across town.  This is fairly unique, as most of the micro distilleries in the state are still too young to have aged their own distilled whiskeys.  Major props to Grand Traverse Distillery for getting an early start in 2007.

Mission Micro Distillery / Mission Table Tasting Room


Location: 13512 Peninsula Drive, Traverse City, MI 49684 (Tasting room, distillery located behind in separate building)

The Mission Micro Distillery / Mission Table Tasting Room was our second stop.  It is another established and welcoming tasting room, though more intimate than the Grand Traverse Distillery locations.  Located in a former Inn, it is an off-shoot of the current restaurant.


You enter through a large wooden door in front, appropriately labeled with a “Tasting Room” sign.  Upon entering, you are immediately greeted by a small stand-up tasting bar. As you round the corner you find a very cozy area complete with a fireplace with a large fire stoking bellows for decoration.  The space is surrounded by additional seating, as well as bottled spirits, beer, shirts, and more available for sale.  The distillery is located in a separate, newer building behind the old Inn and tasting room.  Like Grand Traverse Distillery, they distill and age their own Bourbon.  Additional whiskies they produce include Rye Whiskey and Sour Mash Whiskey, along side a full complement of other distilled spirits.

Northern Latitudes Distillery


Location: 112 E. Phillip St. Ste B, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653

Northern Latitudes Distillery is located a short drive from Traverse City, and is another seasoned distillery well-known for their flavored Vodkas and other spirits.  Although they do not yet distill their own Bourbon, they have one that is sourced from Indiana according to their mash bill profile.  They have recently ordered barrels to begin aging their own Bourbon, but it is 3.5+ years from market.  Nonetheless, it is worth a visit if you are in the area.


They have their still on site in full view of the tasting bar, a large four-sided tasting bar in the center of the space, and a separate bar in back where drinks are available for purchase.  Spirits, shirts, glasses, and various other assorted drinking memorabilia are available for purchase on site.

Traverse City Whiskey Co.

Location: 201 E Fourteenth Street, Traverse City, MI (not yet open)

We stopped by the not-yet-open Traverse City Whiskey Co. distillery and tasting room to check on the progress.  Although the space was originally slated to open in Spring, 2014, it looks like there is more work to do yet.  We don’t have any pictures to share, but peeking through the windows gave us a good indication of where they stand.  The main entrance has a small still visible from the window and opens into a hallway and bathroom area, with a tasting room and bar to your left.  The bar area looks to feature a large tasting bar with central bottle display area behind it, along with a number of tables for seating. Decor seems to be mostly complete, as even the chalk boards above the bar have writing on them.  To the other end of the building there is a back-room production area that currently has roughly a dozen barrels of whiskey aging as well as a small bottling area.  We believe the aging barrels may contain the first of their own distilled whiskey, as earlier bottles were sourced from a distillery in Indiana.  Judging by the small 3-bottle station for bottling and the number of boxes in the work area, it appears they are currently doing their own bottling and no longer relying on Ugly Dog Distillery in Chelsea, MI to do so.  Based on everything we saw, we expect the tasting bar may finally open in the coming Spring.

Jim Beam Prices on the Rise!

If you’re a fan of Jim Beam, you may want to consider stocking up on some of your favorites in the next couple of weeks.  Beginning February 1, 2015, Jim Beam products will cost an average of 4.5% extra in the great state of Michigan!

Most products are rising by $1.00 to $2.00 per 750 mL bottle, including brands such as Baker’s, Booker’s, Knob Creek, Old Crow, and Old Grand Dad.  One notable exception is Jim Beam Single Barrel which is set to rise by $5.00 (14.3%) to $39.99 for a 750 mL bottle.  The only good news in the price changes is for fans of Red Stag who will receive a $2.00 discount per bottle!  A full list of price changes follows.

Product Name Size (mL) New Price  Price Change Percent Change
BAKER’S BOURBON 750 49.96       2.97 6.3%
BEAM’S CHOICE 750 20.99       1.00 5.0%
BEAM’S CHOICE 1750 38.99       2.00 5.4%
BOOKER’S 750 59.99       1.00 1.7%
JIM BEAM 200 5.99         .20 3.5%
JIM BEAM 375 10.48         .49 4.9%
JIM BEAM 750 19.99       1.00 5.3%
JIM BEAM 1000 25.99       1.00 4.0%
JIM BEAM 1750 37.99       1.00 2.7%
JIM BEAM HONEY 375 10.48         .49 4.9%
JIM BEAM HONEY 750 19.99       1.00 5.3%
JIM BEAM HONEY 1000 25.99       1.00 4.0%
JIM BEAM HONEY 1750 37.99       1.00 2.7%
JIM BEAM KENTUCKY FIRE 375 10.48         .49 4.9%
JIM BEAM KENTUCKY FIRE 750 19.99       1.00 5.3%
JIM BEAM KENTUCKY FIRE 1000 25.99       1.00 4.0%
JIM BEAM MAPLE 375 10.48         .49 4.9%
JIM BEAM MAPLE 750 19.99       1.00 5.3%
JIM BEAM SINGLE BARREL 750 39.99       5.00 14.3%
KNOB CREEK BBN 375 19.99       1.00 5.3%
KNOB CREEK BBN 1000 44.99       1.00 2.3%
KNOB CREEK BBN 1750 71.99       2.00 2.9%
KNOB CREEK SINGLE BARREL 750 47.99       2.00 4.3%
OLD CROW 375 4.99         .20 4.2%
OLD CROW 750 8.99         .50 5.9%
OLD CROW 1000 11.99       1.00 9.1%
OLD CROW 1750 19.99       1.70 9.3%
OLD GRAND DAD 375 8.99         .50 5.9%
OLD GRAND DAD 750 16.99       1.00 6.3%
OLD GRAND DAD 1750 31.99       2.00 6.7%
OLD GRAND DAD BONDED 750 19.99       1.00 5.3%
RED STAG BY JIM BEAM 1750 37.99     (2.00) -5.0%
RED STAG BY JIM BEAM 750 17.99     (2.00) -10.0%