These Locally-Made Bourbons Are Still Sleeping

Three tri-state bourbons are nearly ready to come out of the barrel—here’s what their master distillers expect.

These bourbons are nearly ready to come out of the barrel. Here’s what their master distillers expect.


Icons by Jessica Dunham

Pensive Distilling Co.

The distillery may be named for a lightning-fast Derby champ, but Pensive is placing its bets on taking it slow with this new bourbon. Head Distiller Corbin Arrasmith started aging Pensive’s latest bourbon in 15-gallon oak barrels this summer (each one yields just 70–80 bottles). It won’t be ready to tap until Christmas 2023, and Arrasmith expects it to be a festive concoction with notes of brown sugar, chocolate, and a complex woodiness from the small batch barrel that will only get better with age.

720 Monmouth St., Newport, (859) 360-5579

Northern Row

Now roughly three years into its slumber, this bourbon is the definition of local—Northern Row hasn’t outsourced anything for it, and all mashing, fermentation, distilling, and bottling will be done in-house. The bourbon has big flavor notes hiding away, too. Head distiller Josh Quattlebaum described the high rye, high wheat, four-grain, and traditional mash bills for this line, and he’s already started tasting rich vanilla and spice notes in this young bourbon.

111 W. McMicken Ave., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 620-8302

Knox Joseph/OTR Stillhouse

Head Distiller Chris Mitchell joined the Knox Joseph family in January 2018, and he wasted no time getting this bourbon ready for the barrel. Made with a traditional mash of corn, rye, and barley, the distillery’s first straight bourbon has been aging since summer of that year—and should be ready to drink by the time you read this. We were lucky enough to try the new spirit in June, and you’ll be sure to note the warm spiciness of this approachable sipper.

2017 Branch St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 421-7800

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