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Cedar Ridge Iowa Bourbon Whiskey

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating
User Rating 4 Star Rating (2 Reviews)


Barrels of Cedar Ridge Iowa Bourbon

Barrels of Cedar Ridge Iowa Bourbon

Photo Credit: © Shannon Graham

The Bottom Line

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Jeff Quint at the new location for his Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery in Swisher, Iowa. Amid the lush vineyards on the peaceful hill Quint and his team have been making more great spirits and the occasion for this visit was a taste of his new Iowa Bourbon whiskey. Yes, that is Iowa bourbon and Cedar Ridge has proven (as other micro-distilleries such as Dry Fly in Washington has) that you don't need to be from Kentucky to make a fabulous whiskey, much less bourbon.


  • Smooth, sippable bourbon that stands up to the best of Kentucky.
  • Great for Manhattans and other fine whiskey cocktails.


  • It is a small distillery and produces small batches, making the bourbon hard to find.


  • Iowa bourbon whiskey distilled from a mix of corn, rye, and barley.
  • Distilled by Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery, LLC in Swisher, Iowa
  • 40% alc/volume (80 proof)

Guide Review - Cedar Ridge Iowa Bourbon Whiskey

Over the years that I have known Quint, he and his team have transformed Cedar Ridge from a small winery into a micro-distillery to be reckoned with in terms of producing a great variety of high quality product every time. I have never been disappointed by the Clearheart branded vodka, gin, and rum or their newer dark spirits line that falls under the Cedar Ridge label and includes dark rum, apple brandy, grape brandy, and now bourbon. This is a shining example of the craftsmanship that is wonderful about micro-distilleries. You can taste it in every sip: their is a fine-crafted quality and pride that distillers like Quint put into their spirits.

The first of July, 2010 Cedar Ridge released the first 250 cases of the Iowa Bourbon. That was a Thursday and by Friday every case was sold to retailers throughout the state. Twenty days later it is very hard to find a bottle on any of those shelves. Cedar Ridge projects to release that much bourbon each month, though for the moment it will only be available in the state.

Cedar Ridge Iowa Bourbon is a mix of around 70% corn with rye and barley making up the rest. It is aged in new, charred American white oak barrels until it is ready for the bottle, which is running around a year and a half. When the bourbon is done, the barrels are rotated to age the distillery's dark rum and a special project of Quint's that should be just as interesting as this bourbon.

The taste of the Iowa bourbon is ultra-smooth and the balance of grains can keep up with almost any Kentucky bourbon. This is a whiskey you want to sip straight or with a dash of water, which releases some wonderful floral notes. It is also a bourbon that is smooth and flavorful enough to take on any whiskey cocktail you could think of.

As Quint has said, "Iowa is a natural place to distill corn-based spirit." It's true and this perfect match has no better feel than when you gaze out on a hot summer day at the surrounding cornfields and sip this wonderful bourbon. It is a joy and a pleasure in a bottle and a fine testament to the distiller's craft.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
User Reviews

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 5 out of 5
Some of the finest bourbon..of my life...., Member DanielCo

The bourbon being produced by our little gem here in Iowa is OUTSTANDING. Having made many trips to Cedar Ridge for relaxation purposes..I can honestly say that I will drink this and match it to Johnny Walker, Chivas, Glenlivet, and so on. The character is smooth and charming leaving a soft taste on the palate. Yet the punch is that of your favorite Scotch or Bourbon. KUDO's to this little gem in our heartland...may you produce forever!

7 out of 7 people found this helpful.

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