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We recently learned about a new locally produced whiskey called Big Nose Kate, which was named for the ladyfriend and crime partner of none other than Doc Holliday! Word is, this particular Kate once ran a Santa Fe dancehall, and now there’s a whiskey distilled with the help of one Caley Shoemaker, whom we hear is set to open Altar Spirits in the Railyard at some point.

I love new-to-market brands. There’s the thrill of the discovery, where no one has put together an opinion yet, and it is all untouched territory. One such brand is Big Nose Kate.   

 “The old woman was in a familiar town. She and her lover had lived in Prescott, Arizona Territory, back in 1879-’80 […] Her lover—she called him her husband—got into some difficulties with a group of cowboys in Tombstone in 1880. On a cold October day in 1881, a cowboy named Ike came into their room at a boardinghouse, looking for her man—Doc. A little while later, Doc and three of his friends (named Earp) had a shootout with the cowboys in the empty lot next to the boardinghouse. And she watched. And she consoled a weeping Doc after the fight.” – Mark Boardman, True West Magazine

 So, yeah, Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, and the Battle at the OK Corral! The interesting thing about Mary Kate Elder Cummings, a/k/a Big Nose Kate, is that no one could really verify her story. But, they were afraid to cross her. There are even disputes about her nickname, but some accept “Big Nose” referred not to a physical feature, rather, it was that she stuck her “big nose” in everything.

 Big Nose Kate bills itself as a Western Whiskey, “A Brave and Adventurous Blend” which is produced by Big Nose Brands. It takes rye and malt whiskeys sourced from Indiana, Texas, and Virginia and puts it all together in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It isn’t that difficult to figure out which distilleries provided the whiskeys, but Big Nose Brands requested they remain undisclosed, and I’m happy to honor that.

 The complete mashbill is 52.4% rye and 47.6% malted barley. The rye grains are a combination of Elbon, Winter, Chocolate, Merced, and Crystal. The barley is Pale, Odyssey, and 2-row distiller’s malt.

 The cooperage used was a blend as well. Some aged in 53-gallon, new charred oak for 40 months, another aged 38 months in vintage Bourbon barrels, and the last in STR sherry casks for 57 months. Big Nose Kate carries no age statement, which in this case would be completely unnecessary anyway. A 750ml bottle retails for $38.99 and you can hit up the website to get one.

 Before I get to the review, I’d like to share some brief (I promise) information on the Big Nose Kate team. Melissa Heim is a co-founder and head distiller, Kevin Burke is a co-founder and heads up business operations, Paul Earle is a co-founder and developed the brand, with Caley Shoemaker and Niki Green, a/k/a the Bourbon Maven, as partners.

 I’d like to thank the Big Nose Kate team for providing me a sample of this Western Whiskey in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious and learn what this is all about.

 Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Big Nose Kate presented as the color of a pale ale. It formed a massive rim that couldn’t begin to hold the legs that collapsed under their own weight.

 Nose:  The aroma of unpicked mint stood out among the others, which included caramel, new leather, and heavy malt. When I drew the air into my mouth, dry sherry came in, parked, and refused to leave.

Palate:  A thick, syrupy mouthfeel led to notes of caramel, orange zest, and grenadine on the front of my palate. The middle featured chocolate and nutmeg, while the back offered old leather, dried tobacco, and oak.

Finish:  This was one of those hard-to-nail-down finishes. The first sip resulted in a very short finish. Each time I took another sip, the length grew exponentially. After the fourth, it just wouldn’t quit. It began with orange peel and cocoa, then smoked oak, then dry sherry and leather, and finally cinnamon spice.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Big Nose Kate is a fun whiskey, and I don’t think I’ve given that descriptor before to anything. From the nosing that wouldn’t end to the layered palate, to that crazy finish, I couldn’t help but smile the whole way through. While it won’t blow your mind, it will keep your attention, and I believe at the end of the glass, you’ll come to the same conclusion I have: Big Nose Kate is worth picking up, and as such, takes my Bottle rating. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
Bottle = Buy It
Bar = Try It
Bust = Leave It

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

Established distiller and blender Melissa Heim recently launched a new western themed whiskey called Big Nose Kate.

The whiskey’s name comes from what’s described as an under appreciated frontier icon, rule breaker and enterpriser, Big Nose Kate. Heim and her partners said they aim to celebrate all adventurers who deserve recognition.

A a blended whiskey it is said to bring together bourbon, rye and malt “sourced from superb distillers across the country.” Big Nose Kate, according to information from the brand, starts with notes of dry sherry and cherry fruit, cereal grain and oak, and finishes with mellow baking spice. It is a unique blend with a strong body and rich mouthfeel.

“We are excited to finally introduce a strong independent female protagonist into a brand world long associated with male figureheads,” Heim said in a prepared statement. “But we are not aiming to be a ‘gendered’ whiskey. We’re for all people who like discovering great stories, and tipping a glass to those behind them. Kate was an entrepreneur, change-maker and whiskey drinker to boot, so we believe she’s cheering us on from the saloon in the sky.”

The whiskey is produced in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Kate lived and operated a “dance hall” before riding on to her next adventure. Kate was a Hungarian aristocrat’s daughter who later became an immigrant and orphan. She became Doc Holiday’s partner in crime and ran a number of gambling and entertainment operations.

Big Nose Kate, bottled at 90 proof, is pricing at $38.99 per 750 ml bottle.

We need more strong women on whiskey bottles — and more female distillers. So while we haven’t tried it yet, we’re excited for Eastside Distilling’s Melissa Heim to introduce Big Nose Kate, a whiskey celebrating an Old West female compatriot of Doc Holliday

Eastside Distilling’s Melissa Heim has launched a new whiskey inspired by a historical female figure, called Big Nose Kate.

The whiskey pays tribute to its namesake Big Nose Kate, an American historical figure known to be a longtime companion of Wild West gunfighter Doc Holliday.

Heim, who once produced spirits in collaboration with Big Bottom Distilling, crafted the whiskey in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is thought to be one of the first female head distillers west of the Mississippi River.

She said: “We are excited to finally introduce a strong independent female protagonist into a brand world long associated with male figureheads.”

The whiskey was also produced by Altar Spirits’ head distiller, Caley Shoemaker.

Heim added: “But we are not aiming to be a ‘gendered’ whiskey. We’re for all people who like discovering great stories, and tipping a glass to those behind them.”

The whiskey was released to celebrate all adventurers ‘who deserve their due’, according to the brand.

“Kate was an entrepreneur, change-maker and whiskey drinker to boot, so we believe she’s cheering us on from the saloon in the sky,” Heim said.

The whiskey boasts a strong body and rich mouthfeel, and contains notes of dry sherry, cherry fruit, cereal grain and oak. The finish offers flavours of mellow baking spice, with the brand quipping that the expression ‘has a big nose’.

The 750ml bottling presents an ABV of 45%, and the first limited release will be available in US states New Mexico, Arizona, and Oregon, as well as online at BigNoseKate.co.

BIG NOSE KATE
Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Indiana, Texas, and Virginia
Age: Not stated
ABV: 45%
Price: $36
Release: September 2021
Availability: AZ, NM, OR

Need to know:
This whiskey blends straight ryes with an American single malt. It is named after Mary Katherine Horony Cummings, a figure of the Old West and common-law wife to gunfighter Doc Holiday. The whiskey comes from distiller Melissa Heim.

Whisky Advocate says:
There are only a handful of whiskies named after women, and those that come to mind are all blends. Jane Walker was a fictional character created by the Johnnie Walker team and Grace O’Malley, released in June 2020, is an Irish blend that pays homage to the 16th-century pirate by the same name. This whiskey is also noteworthy for its combination of rye and American single malt, a blend we haven’t yet seen.

SANTA FE, N.M — Big Nose Kate is the stunning new western whiskey from Melissa Heim, one of the top rising stars in the spirits world. In naming the whiskey after Big Nose Kate— an icon, rule breaker, and enterpriser, but never fully appreciated as the huge force on the frontier that she was— Heim and her partners aim to celebrate all adventurers who deserve their due.

A highly unique blend with a strong body and rich mouthfeel, Big Nose Kate opens with notes of dry sherry and cherry fruit, cereal grain and oak, and finishes with mellow baking spice. Artfully and meticulously sourced from superb distillers across the country, the whiskey is well-traveled, bold, and brave. Just like its namesake. (And yes, it has a big nose.)

“We are excited to finally introduce a strong independent female protagonist into a brand world long associated with male figureheads,” says Heim. “But we are not aiming to be a ‘gendered’ whiskey. We’re for all people who like discovering great stories, and tipping a glass to those behind them.”

“Kate was an entrepreneur, change-maker and whiskey drinker to boot, so we believe she’s cheering us on from the saloon in the sky,” Heim added.

Big Nose Kate is produced in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Kate operated a notorious “Dance Hall” (until she skipped town for her next adventure). A key contributor to the whiskey production is Caley Shoemaker of Santa Fe’s Altar Spirits, herself an industry luminary, and like Heim, one of only a handful of female Head Distillers in the United States. Also playing a key role in Big Nose Kate in various capacities are Kevin Burke, a highly experienced beverage industry leader; and Paul Earle, an entrepreneur and branding aficionado.

About Big Nose Kate
The extraordinary life of Maria Izabella Magdolna Horony, also known as Catherine Elder, and later feared and revered everywhere simply as the inimitable one-and-only Big Nose Kate, is a tale for the ages. A Hungarian aristocrat’s daughter turned immigrant and orphan, she was drawn to the wild American west through chance, rebellion, opportunity, and a deep curiosity in people, places and ideas. A strong, industrious, and fiercely independent self-made woman generations ahead of her time, Kate was Doc Holliday’s “partner in crime,” bucked horns with Wyatt Earp, and ran a number of gambling and entertainment operations. Let this be clear: there was no better friend, and no worse enemy than Big Nose Kate. Yet the Docs, the Wyatts, the cowboys, and the rangers always commanded center stage. Until now.

About Melissa Heim
Mel is a Head Distiller & Blender who has already won 40 medals for flavor and quality in a wide range of spirits products that she has made. Mel is considered by many to be one of the first ever female Head Distillers and blenders west of the Mississippi, and also one of the youngest. A visionary maker, general manager, executive, and operator, Mel does it all at Big Nose Kate.

If traced through history, the spirit business for over four centuries has typically been headed by a male figurehead. But the launching of Big Nose Kate Whiskey by Melissa Heim in 2021, a classic blended whiskey changed the 400 years of history at once and introduced a new theme not only in the western whiskey industry but to their entire beverage industry at large by naming and honouring it after Maria Izabella Magdolna Horony, popularly known as Big Nose Kate – an icon, rule breaker, and enterprises of her own time. Though she never really appreciated the huge force on the frontier that she was. Heim and her partners aim to celebrate all adventurers who deserve their due.

Big Nose Kate, an extremely unique blend with a strong body and rich mouthfeel, bringing together bourbon, rye and malt “sourced from superb distillers across the country.” According to the Heim, Big Nose Kate opens with a note of dry sherry and cherry fruit, cereal grain, and oak, and finishes with mellow baking spice. Artfully and meticulously sourced from superb distillers across the country, the whiskey is well-travelled, bold, and brave, just like Mary Katherine Haroney, maintaining its name.

“We are excited to finally introduce a strong independent female protagonist into a brand world long associated with male figureheads. But we are not aiming to be a ‘gendered’ whiskey. We’re for all people who like discovering great stories, and tipping a glass to those behind them. Kate was an entrepreneur, change-maker, and whiskey drinker to boot, so we believe she’s cheering us on from the saloon in the sky.” By Heim

Big Nose Kate is produced in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Kate operated a notorious “Dance Hall” before riding on to her next adventure. Kate was originally a daughter of a Hungarian aristocrat who around the age of fourteen turned orphan and immigrant, she was drawn to the wild American west through chance, rebellion, opportunity, and a deep curiosity in people, places, and ideas. A strong, industrious, and fiercely independent self-made woman generations ahead of her time, Kate was Doc Holliday’s “partner in crime,” bucked horns with Wyatt Earp, and ran several gambling and entertainment operations. This astonishing drink is in honour of this ravishing woman of all time, she was mostly considered to be ‘no better friend’, and ‘no worse enemy’ than Big Nose Kate. Yet the Docs, the Wyatts, the cowboys, and the rangers always commanded center stage, until now. The whiskey intended to state the tale of her extraordinary life.

But this stunningness sits on the procreator distillery of Big Nose Kate, Melissa Heim. It is an exception in itself, as it is the first in the whole world to be lead by female Head Distillers and blenders, which by now has already won over 40 medals for their flavor and quality in a wide range of spirits products that she has made. Heim, who once produced spirits in collaboration with Big Bottom Distilling, crafted the whiskey in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is now thought to be changing the entire vision and atmosphere in the spirit business on a whole new level.

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BIG NOSE BRANDS, INC. SANTA FE © 2021 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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BIG NOSE BRANDS, INC. SANTA FE
© 2021 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.