Jefferson’s Chef Collaboration

FullSizeRender                                                             Jefferson’s has never been shy about stepping beyond the norm, aging Bourbon on ships, finishing bourbon in wine casks, etc. Chef’s Collaboration is no exception. This was taken off their web site,

“The Chef’s Collaboration developed after a late night spent tasting some of chef Edward Lee’s culinary creations led Trey to the idea that someone should blend a bourbon that would pair well with the bold flavors in chef Lee’s cookbook and other modern cuisine. Without hesitation, Trey and Ed set forth.”

That would be Trey Zoeller from Jefferson’s. The thinking, I believe, was to make a Bourbon that pairs well with food, much like wine.

JCC goes for around $40 or so, comes in the same shaped corked bottle that all of Jefferson’s come in and is 92 proof. It is a blend of their regular Bourbon and some Rye. When it first came out it was a little hard to find, now most stores have a bottle.


Ron:   Big nose! I got  pepper, oak, and leather right off the bat. Then some caramel and a slight medicine odor.

Todd:    Wow, the only thing we have in common is the spice/pepper smell. I got an aroma of cherries along with a strange smell of stone. Other than that I didn’t get much.

Ron:   Stone? Do you eat many rocks?

Todd:    We are talking about the nose, not taste. Having said that, more like wet stone.


Ron:    Tasted most of what I smelled, sweet caramel, oak and that little bit of medicine. Also got vanilla, and some plum. A little hot, needs water or ice to calm it down a bit.

Todd:   I agree that it needs water/ice to bring down the heat. While I didn’t get a lot of flavors, I liked the ones I did taste.  Those include some spicy pepper notes along with some black fruit. I also tasted a little caramel.


Ron:    Medium to long finish, not real complex, didn’t really get any additional flavors.

Todd:   Medium to long finish with a touch of mint.


Ron:   Decently balanced, more complex without the water, but smooth and mellow with it.

Todd:    Even though I didn’t get a lot on the nose or a lot of different tastes, I have always liked this bourbon.

Nose     4.25 out of 5

Taste     8.5 out of 10

Finish    3.75 out of 5

Total            16.5 Barrels out of 20

The score on JCC was a surprise to us both. We have long been a fan and were sure it would do better. It shows the difference between sitting on the porch enjoying something and actually sitting down to do a review. Sometimes you can like something a lot even though it is not real complex. Think vanilla ice cream.

Having said that, JCC is nice and smooth with a little ice, almost refreshing. We really enjoy sipping on Jefferson’s Chef Collaboration. We think you would as well.

Russell’s Reserve


Russell’s Reserve Small Batch, named after Wild Turkey’s famous master distiller Jimmy Russell. RR comes in a medicinal shaped corked bottle that sells for around $30 and can be found at most stores that sell spirits. It is bottled at 90 proof and aged 10 years.


Ron:    Besides the usual suspects, caramel, vanilla and citrus, I got tobacco, sorghum and a hint of cinnamon and red fruit.

Todd:   The first and overwhelmingly dominate aroma for me was apricot. Behind that I picked up some oak and honey. I like to say it had a nice mellow nose.


Ron:   Very smooth at 90 proof with quite a bit going on. I tasted almost everything I got on the nose with spice replacing the red fruit.

Todd:   Nice and sweet and surprisingly not too hot neat. In fact I think I liked RR better without ice. I got the apricot that I smelled along with a lot of little things, citrus, caramel, vanilla and oak.


Ron:   Medium finish with hints of caramel and tobacco.

Todd:   Medium to medium-long finish with a slight medicinal taste.


Ron:   Pretty balanced and somewhat complex with lots of flavors, but they don’t necessarily blend well. This creates a good drink rather that a superb drink.

Todd:   I have to agree with Ron, this is right on the precipice of being a great Bourbon at a very good price. To me it just lacks something, it is still very good, not just great.

Nose    4.5 of 5

Taste    7.5 out of 10

Finish   4 out of 5

Total Score     16 out of 20 Barrels

This was a  hard one. Russell’s Reserve has a lot going for it, nice nose along with a smooth taste that has a lot of flavors. But neither of us were overwhelmed by the overall product. We didn’t come away thinking ” can’t wait to try this again.”

Having said that, we would recommend you try this yourself. Also, if you find it on sale in the mid $20s, pick up a bottle.