The Ultimate American Whiskey Tweet Tasting
To help celebrate the 4th July, a well-known date in America – so I’ve been told, the good eggs at Maverick Drinks and The Whisky Wire sent me a curated selection pack of their best American whiskies for a
bunch of us drunkards selection of bloggers to all taste at the same time on that-there-Twitter.
So without further ado, here’s my thoughts on the aforementioned 5 drams…
New York Distilling Company, Ragtime Rye – 45.2% abv
Info: Mashbill of 72% rye, 16% corn and 12% malted barley, then matured for at least three years in 53 gallon American oak barrels.
Colour: Rich rusty oil.
Nose: Floral vanilla rye grass wafting in the breeze with notes of new oak barrels. A good spirit hit, fairly spicy, maybe some cloves.
Palate: Oily and smooth, velvety with wood spices soon covering your tongue. There’s brown sugar notes, but also a slight bitterness.
Finish: The finish is warming and long, with lots of flavour left on your tongue while your chest is warmed nicely. Wood spice lingers.
Thoughts: If you like lots of oak wood spice then this is for you!
Available: Master of Malt – £45.95
Smooth Ambler Spirits, Contradiction – 50% abv
Info: Produced in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, Smooth Ambler Contradiction Bourbon is made with a blend of two whiskeys; one rather young wheated bourbon distilled by Smooth Ambler, the other is an old, rye-rich bourbon that the distillers have sourced.
Colour: Rich and dark autumn gold.
Nose: It comes over as well aged, but with a younger spirit top note, so a bit of both! There’s gentle brown sugars, fudge, cinnamon, almost a raisin note along with a handful of nuts and some candid peel.
Palate: Rich and oily; an interplay between smoothness and a side note of wood spice. Dark fruits and vanilla, all bound up in gentle spices.
Finish: My tongue is left with rich flavours and a gentle spice that’s lasting, with the dram overall lasting a long time with the older sourced rye seeing out the younger element of the whiskey.
Thoughts: It’s a contradiction alright! It’s fun navigating between the younger and older whiskies in this dram, both of which have a great quality and work well together.
Available: Master of Malt – £69.95
Balcones Distilling, Texas Single Malt – 53% abv
Info: Single malt American whisky from Texan distillery Balcones. “Yard-aged” in ex-bourbon American oak before bottling.
Colour: Dark, dark red, rust colour sand on a hot evening.
Nose: Something totally different to the Bourbons, this is a much more familiar malt based nose. It’s really rich with ripe sultanas dipped in thick caramel.
Palate: As thick as the caramel note you got on the nose, nice and oily, yet surprisingly easy. Your palate is covered with sweet oily malt with vanilla coming out to play, spices giving it a nice kick, be that from the abv or the wood I’m not sure, both I guess.
Finish: You’re left with nice sweet flavours for quite a long time, but the finish itself isn’t quite as long as what’s left on your palate.
Thoughts: Yummy yum yum, this is one tasty dram from Balcones.
Available: Master of Malt – £92.95
Widow Jane, 10 Year Old (cask 1791) – 45.5% abv
Info: Produced in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn Widow Jane 10 Year Old Straight Bourbon has been created using a mashbill of 70% corn, 20% rye and 10% malt.
Colour: Deep, oily, rusty gold.
Nose: The age has really tamed this dram down into something that feels older and more subtle. It’s got those older almost Dunnage warehouse notes of aged polished wood. There’s a toffee/fudge sweetness with gentle spiced orange behind it.
Palate: A slightly less oily feel than others on the tasting, but none the less smooth and velvety. It’s instantly got a balanced sweetness, with a very present oak that integrates well.
Finish: This leaves your mouth a little dry while it takes a long slow path to a warm chest embrace. It smolders for a long time, the age doing a great service to the dram. Corn notes stick around for a long time at the end.
Thoughts: Recognisably older, which is a treat. It’s sweet yet dry, tasty yet mature.
Available: Master of Malt – RRP £79.95 – 70cl – “Coming Soon” (not on sale at time of posting, this was a sneaky advanced preview! Please note the picture shown here is not of this bottle so it might be different when it hits the ships).
FEW Spirits, Rye – 46.5% abv
Info: Produced in Evanston, Illinois FEW Spirits Rye has been aged in air-dried oak barrels. Made using a mashbill of 70% rye, 20% corn and 10% malted barley.
Colour: Deep golden bronze autumnal gold.
Nose: Very pleasing, it all feels well-balanced; gentle spirit, slight hints of smoke, wafts of melting brown sugar with rye and malt notes ever-present, yummy. All wrapped in nicely aged oak.
Palate: Rich and oily, velvety and smooth. Not overly dominated by wood spice, but it’s there making it interesting. The brown sugar notes come through, but without any bitterness.
Finish: Your tongue is left tingling a little with lovely brown sugar notes while your chest is given a manly warm hug.
Thoughts: In many ways the nose feels “familiar”, if you’re used to a good Scotch then this will probably also really appeal, it’s enjoyable and tasty!
Available: Master of Malt – £66.95
Overall Thoughts: They were all good, it’s hard to pick! But, for me the FEW Spirits Rye was probably my favourite, followed by the Balcones Texas Single Malt. The New York Distilling Company Ragtime Rye was my least favourite, it was like drinking splinters, but plenty of the other Tweet Tasters loved it, so what do I know?! 🙂
Thanks to Maverick Drinks and The Whisky Wire!
Any questions? Find me on Twitter as @steveprentice.