Tom’s Foolery — New Whiskey Exclusives from a K&L Favorite – American Whiskey News



Benchmarks in the World of Craft Spirits
“One of our very favorite American distillers of any kind.” —David Othenin-Girard, K&L SoCal Spirits Buyer

Tom’s Foolery is one of our greatest craft finds. This small distiller out of Ohio has quickly become one of our fastest selling brands by offering that ideal balance of rarity and unparalleled quality. These spirits hit all the notes we look for—they’re never too brash, too young, or show too much rough oak. Rather, they are masterfully composed and are benchmarks within their category. Carried exclusively by K&L in California, these are real treasures that only we (and you of course) can possess.

TThe single barrel-a-day producer starts fresh every day with a new, exciting recipe, creating whiskeys as they might have been before prohibition. This trio represents some of the best in the craft category, and, while they’re worlds apart from one another stylistically, they represent the same aesthetic—a devotion to quality, hard work, and humble brilliance that only a true American master can offer.


Tom’s Foolery Bottled in Bond Single Barrel #150 Ohio Straight Rye Whiskey (750ml) ($49.99)

Since Tom and Lianne Herbruck founded Tom’s Foolery distillery in northern Ohio in 2008, their products have become benchmarks in the ever expanding world of craft whiskey and brandy. The rye might be their most exciting offering. This single barrel #150 was distilled in February 2013 from 70% winter rye and 30% malted rye. The barrel was bottled in bond in October 2018 at 100 proof. It represents a nearly lost style of rye, more intense than most modern rye, with tons of minty green complexity, grassy dried herbs and spicy black pepper. While the powerful herbs and spice dominate, the whole package remains relatively sweet thanks to more than five years in new charred oak.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 07, 2019

I used try to look for something from Tom that approximated what you’d expect to get out of Kentucky, but after tasting the 100% ryes that Tom was making I changed my tune. This is is a blend of 70% winter rye and 30% malted rye. The result is one of the headiest and most out there flavor profiles for any whiskey we’ve ever sold. Out of control aromatics right out of the bottle of fresh mint, pine forest, wet pavement and something slightly barnyardy. The palate is big dry spicy monster with a powerful earthiness and the mint taking over on the finish. This one is not for the faint of heart, but for anyone who knows they love powerful rye or wants to experience what pre-prohibition might have tasted like, this is a great move. The quality of the whiskey is undeniable even if it might be too much for some to handle.

Jackson Lee | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 07, 2019

A very interesting and expressive nose on this rye, and a testament to why most producers color their rye bottles green. Herbal notes of fennel fronds, dill, and cola nut wafted out of the glass and just made me think of rolling hills of soft grass. The palate was not at all what I was expecting; very soft and smooth with a sweet brown sugar note—almost giving off a bourbon quality mixed with a soft rye. The finish was long with spiced notes of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 07, 2019

This classic and delicious rye has a lot to offer. The nose is a sweet inviting mixture of grains and spice. In the mouth this theme continues, wrapped in a full bodied and juicy whiskey. With a little water this single barrel becomes creamy and rich with a nice long finish. This selection is good with and without water and worth taking a look at.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 06, 2019

The healthy balance of malted rye gives this a completely different profile than most rye on the market. The nose is something special! It’s green and herbal and sweet and yeasty all at the same time. It’s like a rising loaf of rye bread on the counter while the baker toasts herbs to crust a freshly baked foccacia. The palate is spicy and darker than expected from the nosing. The sweet backbone of oak fans out into a flourish of candied spice and rolling hills of sweet grass.


Tom’s Foolery Cask Strength Single Barrel #121 Ohio Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml) ($54.99)

After buying the original stills from the old Michter’s Jug House, the Herbrucks started making bourbon with corn grown on their 115-acre farm. This gorgeous single barrel of bourbon was distilled in November of 2012 from a mash of 56% corn, 25% rye & 19% malted barley. Bottled right out of the barrel with no filtration or dilution, this is easily one of the best bourbons to come out of Tom’s to date. While some of the first casks we sold were high quality, they still showed some of the young spirity qualities that we’d expect from pot distilled whisky. But this special cask has truly turned a corner. Now it doesn’t show the sweetness of Kentucky bourbon, but instead offers deep dark mocha, acacia honey, chocolate covered cherries and fresh birch bark. The rich and supple honeyed character on the palate is sharpened by a soft peppery spice from the rye grain and moves into a creamy cake frosting-like sweetness on the finish. While the intensely unique character of the single barrel rye might appeal to the adventurous drinker, there is something so overt and open about this cask that is probably the best we’ve yet to bottle from the excellent Cleveland-based distiller.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 07, 2019

Another stupendous little bourbon from Tom Herbruck in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. The special little distillery outside of Cleveland is part of our portfolio thanks to a fateful visit to my in-laws who live in the area. After tasting Grand Plucinsky’s homemade “Bailey’s,” I was feeling a bit saucy and recommended we go check out this craft distillery that I’d read had purchased these old stills from Michter’s. Turns out the “distillery” was just a shed behind Tom’s house, but the whiskey was every bit as delicious as I’d heard. This is our third barrel of bourbon from the Herbrucks and represents the smoothest and most “typical” bourbon profile we’ve yet to release. The intensity of the pot stills comes through while the whiskey is young, but around 5 years old these bourbons seem to really change. The rugged grainy pot still softens into sweet soft aromas of baked apple, barrel spice, burnt orange peel and fresh corn bread. The palate is full of sweetness and spice, the thick texture of the bourbon a hallmark of those old pot stills. Sweet candy corn, dark chocolate and pointed baking spice (clove and cinnamon especially) are the main show. While we’re still not in the same flavor profile as Kentucky, we are moving closer to a traditional bourbon with this one. More reasons why Tom is one of our very favorite American distillers of any kind.

Jackson Lee | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 07, 2019

This was quite the interesting bourbon to try. It seemed like it was in its teenage years, wanting to be older and more mature yet still showing signs of its youth. I kept coming back to the nose, initially getting strong notes of wet hay, more and more kept coming though. Blondies, nougat, chocolate, and the lightest cherry syrup kept sneaking up on me, like it was wanting more attention. It was a little more standoffish on the palate, yielding a similar yet deeper flavor of hay and honey mixed with cedar wood. The finish seemed to be a bit more mature, hanging around for a while trying to make intelligent conversation and offering notes of rock candy, cake frosting and baking spices. This was definitely a fun bourbon to try from a smaller producer.

Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 07, 2019

Another winner from Tom’s Foolery. It is rich and balanced with soft and juicy flavors. It is big and intense with vanilla notes coming forward, adding complexity and pleasure to this selection. With a little water it becomes a little more soft and creamy but is still a big and rich beauty.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 06, 2019

Soft and sweet, this is absurdly easy drinking. I had to double check that it was indeed full proof. It is. 54.55% in fact, although you’d never know it from the rounded profile and supple nature. Low in corn, yet high in rye and malted barley, the unique profile here is both sweet and a touch grassy. It’s full of flavor and much more complex than your typical high corn bourbon. It’s honeyed and full of darker sweets like a bowl of granola with dark chocolate chips in it. This is hands down my favorite bourbon we have carried from Tom’s Foolery. Bravo!


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