Whiskey Review: Big Stick Semper Fi Bourbon

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Big Stick Spirits. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

I’ve had more than one person take a look at the bottle of Big Stick Semper Fi Bourbon on my liquor cart and express their doubt in the sediment-filled spirit. I’ve reviewed other niche whiskeys, including those that contribute to a specific cause or donate to a particular charity, and have found the process hit or miss as to whether the whiskey really shines in these cases.

Which is why I’m happy to report that Big Stick Semper Fi Bourbon is a win in both philanthropy and taste, and the titular “big stick” that takes center stage is not just a talking point, but a real addition to the flavor profile.

Big Stick is owned by Mike Ryan, an engineer, and his best friend Joe Baker, a retired USMC Lieutenant Colonel. As is common with charity-focused brands, the pair found a common goal when developing Big Stick. Their mission to support service members includes donating five percent of all profits to military organizations. Big Stick also includes an Operation Gratitude page on the website to encourage others to donate to their cause and view the many organizations supported by the sales of the whiskey.

Adding the charred new American white oak stave before bottling is a unique choice. Big Stick compares the effect to a “double oaked” whiskey, as the whiskey is able to integrate with the new oak for a longer period of time. While the whiskey is bottled at 95 proof, there is an incredible smoothness and expert blend of flavors that make Big Stick a fantastic sipper.

Big Stick Semper Fi Bourbon review

Big Stick Semper Fi Bourbon (image via Jerry Jenae Sampson)

Tasting Notes: Big Stick Semper Fi Bourbon       

Vital Stats: 95 proof (47.5% ABV). SRP around $80. Bottled with charred new American white oak stave in the bottle; bottle includes a filtration cap.

Appearance: Burnished red leather

Nose: The whiskey has a meaty nose with notes of orange peel and spices, oak, and a light hint of raisin and cinnamon.

Palate: This whiskey is woodsy, in that there’s wonderful, seasoned oak notes along with a tangy hint of charcoal and non-medicinal cherry and cocoa. The whiskey is voluminous and balanced, with a smooth finish.

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