Widow Jane Releases Bourbon Made With Proprietary Heirloom Corn


June 11, 2024

Widow Jane Baby Jane Bourbon bottle

In 2013, Widow Jane Head Distiller Sienna Jevremov, along with the fledgling Brooklyn distillery’s long-tenured operations lead, Michele Clark, hopped in their cramped sedan and headed upstate.

The duo were infatuated with heirloom corn; the kind of corn that would yield an intense whiskey flavor and creamy mouthfeel, expanding what is possible for an entire category. A meeting with local farmer John Gill ignited a long-running obsession and foreshadowed an innovation a decade in the making.

Widow Jane Distillery introduces the fruit of that labor of love, Baby Jane Bourbon by Widow Jane, the brand’s newest, small-batch, hand-assembled blend of bourbons distilled at Widow Jane’s home in historic Red Hook, Brooklyn and in Kentucky. Made using Widow Jane’s own, unique “Baby Jane” corn, it is thought to be the first nationally-available bourbon made using a proprietary heirloom corn.

“Our mantra in developing Baby Jane, both the corn and the whiskey, has been ‘obsessed from start to finish,’” Jevremov said in a news release. “With this whiskey, we wanted to break the perception that truly distinctive bottles with special stories have to be cost prohibitive to the point that you’re afraid to open them. Baby Jane pushes the boundaries of what raw ingredients can deliver and sets a new standard for go-to sipping bourbons.”

The new Baby Jane Bourbon is aged 4-6 years and bottled at 91 proof. The bourbon will be available nationwide this month, with 15,000 total cases going into distribution. SRP is $50 per 750ml bottle.

Back in 2013, Jevremov and Clark had ordered heirloom corn seeds from seed banks across the country. Farmer Gill’s land was just a few miles north of the famed Widow Jane Mines from which Widow Jane sources limestone-rich water to proof its whiskeys. The trio planted several strains of heirloom corn, with Bloody Butcher Red and Wapsie Valley Yellow proving the most successful.

Side by side, Bloody Butcher and Wapsie Valley grew. A byproduct of this growth was a cross pollination that produced a natural, if inconsistent hybrid of the two. For four years after that first meeting, Jevremov and Clark returned upstate where they harvested the hybrid corn, plucking individual kernels with just the right medium-tone coloration, and replanting those kernels. Eventually, their efforts yielded an entirely new, proprietary strain of heirloom corn they christened “Baby Jane.”

The tightly-curated, raw heirloom materials are cooked low and slow, then fermented and distilled in Jevremov’s 1000-liter pot and column hybrid single pass still in the Brooklyn distillery, with the process mimicked in Kentucky as well, before being gently placed into new, charred American oak barrels.

The result is a bourbon rich with notes reflective of the grain and the barrel, with the classic Widow Jane profile of stone fruits and the remarkably long finish Widow Jane whiskeys always deliver.

“There are certainly easier ways to make whiskey that don’t involve actually developing and perfecting an entirely original strain of corn,” Clark said. “Tasting the results of all that painstakingly detailed work – trial after trial after trial until we got the liquid where we wanted it before laying it down in barrels – is incredibly gratifying and we hope everyone enjoys this bourbon as much as we enjoyed the journey we took in making it.”

As is the case with all Widow Jane whiskeys, Baby Jane Bourbon is non-chill filtered and proofed with the pure limestone mineral water from the legendary Rosendale Mines of New York, just 100 miles north of the distillery, which contributes to the round mouthfeel and exceptionally long finish.

For more information, visit www.widowjane.com.

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