FEW Bourbon

"A very interesting bourbon and definitely different from others, which I like very much, and proves that doing things differently pays off "

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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Paul Hletko founded FEW, ironically named after the initials of the co-founder of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union Frances Elizabeth Willard, in Evanston, Illinois, in 2011. He supports the usage of self-grown or locally obtained ingredients to make different kinds of spirits, including rye and bourbon. They also stick images of their bottles of the World’s Columbian Exhibition of 1893 in Chicago. Apparently, FEW uses a special strain of yeast that results in a spicy spirit, in addition to a maturation in Minnesota oak barrels that adds a herbal quality. “This spirit, distilled through timeless liquor-making techniques, utilises a three-grain recipe that infuses generations of Southern tradition with the spiciness of northern rye and a touch of malt for smoothness”, according to their homepage. I previously appreciated their rye very much, so I am positively awaiting what their bourbon brings! 


The first smells point clearly to a bourbon that contains a high rye content. Many rye spices, rye bread, aniseeds, caraway, and white pepper. Not too much sweetness or wood influence. Water introduces a softer side with corn cobs, and a more grassy and floral influences. I find some lime skin, apple soap (never found that before in any spirit, nor would I have expected to like it). Altogether very fine.


The palate also opens very spicy, with a lot of freshness, I am thinking of mint toothpaste. There is only hint of fresh corn, some corn soup and a few herbs. Also here, adding some water makes it sweeter and more floral. Rose jelly, I can imagine (although I never tasted it really), and it is  slightly drying. Lemon cheesecake, lime juice, the freshness stays prominent on the palate, and some mint and jasmine tea. Likeable fragrant, and I my opinion, better with water.


A very interesting bourbon, like their rye, and definitely different from others, which I like very much. I think they are on the right track to become a worthy addition to the standard range of American spirits, although they would probably not want to be called standard, and I think their bourbons might differ between the batches. Anyway, it proves that doing things differently pays off, and I will follow them the coming years and test more of their releases. 

What others say

Whiskybase: 82.00 (5 votes) * Serge Valentin @Whiskyfun: 84/100 * @TheWhiskeyJug: 87/100 * @Ralfy: 88/100
Read for yourself

Big thanks to for sharing the sample!


these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
Nose 86.5%
Taste 87%
Balance 86%
Depth 86.5%
Finish 86%