Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Doundrins Distilling 100% Wheat Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


When distillers begin their whiskey journey, they have a few options. The first is to source mature stocks from another distillery, then bottle them and call them their own. Another is to use smaller barrels, which requires less waiting and allows the distiller to recover a return on investment faster. A third choice is to use standard-sized wood vessels and remain patient. Other things can be done, but they’re less common.


These three options are not without drawbacks. With sourcing, your reputation is earned on the work of others. At some point, if you want to release your distillate, it will be challenging to mimic what you’re purchased from others, even if you had access to the same mashbill. As such, the quality will change (good or bad), which is risky.


Using standard, 53-gallon barrels, you’ve got a lot of money tied up in inventory that is doing nothing for however long it takes for the whiskey to mature. Some people set an arbitrary number of years, but the truth is the whiskey is ready when the whiskey is ready. And, you have to hope and pray that you’ve done things correctly and everything comes together as you’d planned.


One of the typical features of utilizing smaller cooperage is that while the whiskey ages rapidly, it lacks the benefit of slow maturation, which causes wood notes, including a sensation of sawdust, to dominate.


Wheat whiskey is similar to Bourbon and Rye: Bourbon requires 51% or more corn, Rye requires 51% or more rye, and Wheat whiskey requires at least the same amount of its namesake grain. Some people may be confused and equate wheat whiskey with labels such as WL Weller or Old Fitzgerald. However, those are wheated Bourbons, which contain wheat as the second-largest ingredient instead of rye.


When you distill wheat, it typically has no natural flavor of its own. Wheat tends to be an enhancer of flavor, and when no other ingredients are involved, any flavors will come from the barrels used. Some distillers add corn or other grains to the mash to soften that.


Located only a handful of miles from Whiskeyfellow’s international headquarters is a town called Cottage Grove, and there resides Doundrins Distilling. It is owned by Nick and Abby Abramovich, a husband-and-wife team, both of whom were trained as chemical engineers. The original idea was to get into brewing, but as they discussed this further, distilling became the focus, and in 2019, Nick and Abby turned that into a reality. They have, to date, released 25 different products, including vodkas, brandies, and liqueurs.


Doundrins' newest release is its first whiskey. I freely admit that I have been waiting for this since Nick and Abby first opened their doors. I admit, I was expecting Bourbon or Rye and was surprised they went with a 100% Wheat Whiskey. Because of its nature, it is almost as if Nick and Abby were throwing down a gauntlet at other Wisconsin distilleries, as I’m unaware of others doing it.


This wheat whiskey is made from a mash of 100% white wheat malt and aged for a single year in 10-gallon, new charred oak barrels. It was bottled at 40% ABV (80°), and a 750ml bottle costs $45.00. I purchased mine at the distillery, and it is also available at the Piggly Wiggly in Cottage Grove. Due to the size of the barrel, only a small number of bottles exist for this inaugural release.


How did Doundrins Distilling do with this wheat whiskey? Let’s #DrinkCurious and answer the question.


Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass revealed a wheat whiskey presented as brass-colored. It formed a thick rim that yielded even wider tears which crawled back to the pool.


Nose: Initially, the smell of sawdust and oak hid anything else. However, once my nose acclimated, nutmeg, walnut, and vanilla aromas came through. Interestingly, there was also something that I could swear was cardboard. When I drew the air in past my lips, vanilla rolled across my tongue.


Palate: A thick, buttery mouthfeel introduced me to flavors of vanilla and Honey Nut Cheerios. I tasted paprika, leather, and walnut at mid-palate, while the back featured black pepper, clove, and bold oak.  


Finish: Green and black peppercorn, combined with oak, leather, dark chocolate, and vanilla, provided for a medium-to-long, spicy finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I found Doundrins’ first whiskey young but captivating. I’ve had 100% wheat whiskeys before this one and experienced much of what I expected. If you enjoy spice bombs, Doundrins Wheat Whiskey is sure to please.


Doundrins 100% Wheat Whiskey would bring plenty of character to a cocktail, more so than many others. I can see this being a shining star in that regard. But if you’re like me, and that’s not your goal when you purchase a bottle of whiskey, you’ll want to try this one first at a Bar. 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.


Monday, December 5, 2022

St. George Spirits Lot 22 American Single Malt Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


“In 1982, there were fewer than than 20 distilleries in the United States. Today there are more than 2,000. When Jörg [Rupf] ran his first batch of eau de vie on his 65-gallon pot still, he didn’t just start St. George Spirits, he started a movement. In the years that followed, he also helped countless other distillers launch their own operations. Jörg’s legacy—creating spirits of uncompromising quality while helping blaze the trail for artisan distillers—lives on in everything we do.” – St. George Spirits


This California distillery, Jaxon Keys Winery, Charbay Distillery, and Germain-Robin were the four pioneers of the industry we know and almost take for granted today. St. George Spirits, under the guidance of Master Distiller Lance Winters, released its first lot of American Single Malt whiskey in 2000. Each year, St. George Spirits releases another as a limited edition, with this year’s bearing the badge of Lot 22.


The mashbill is derived from pale, crystal, chocolate, and black patent malts that were subjected to different roasting levels, and Bamberg malt that was unroasted, but smoked over beech and alder woods. That’s been the base of St. George’s American Single Malt since Lot 1. What makes Lot 22 different is the use of 26 different casks with vintage Kentucky Bourbon and Tennessee whisky barrels, along with both American and French oak casks that previously held apple brandy, port, and California Sauternes-style wines.


While Lot 22 carries no age statement, there are single barrels ranging in age from 4-1/2 years to 8-1/2 years and blends of whiskeys from 23 years ago. Proofed to 43% ABV (86°), a 750ml package has a suggested price of $99.99.


I’ve found the few American Single Malts I’ve tasted from this distillery to be tasty, and what it offers is definitely not a me-too whiskey. St. George Spirits produces the unusual. To see if Lot 22 follows the trend, we’ll have to do the #DrinkCurious thing. But, before that happens, I thank St. George Spirits for providing me with this sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass revealed a brassy liquid that formed a medium-heavy rim before it collapsed into thick legs.


Nose: As I brought the rim of the glass to my nostrils, it smelled like I was at a dessert bar. Cherry pie filling, chocolate mousse, caramel, toasted coconut, hazelnut, and butter pecan rushed my olfactory sense, causing me a bit of sensory overload. When I drew the air into my mouth, I encountered orange rind.


Palate: A buttery texture greeted my tongue. Flavors of brown sugar, hazelnut, and almond were the first that I picked up, with white grapefruit, melon, and apple midway through. The back featured roasted coffee, milk chocolate, and clove.


Finish: The finish started with white grapefruit, ginger spice, apple, and French oak making various appearances. Most of it was short to medium in duration, but the citrus went beyond that.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: My only gripe with Lot 22 is its shorter finish. I was daydreaming through the nosing and tasting experience, and then it was over, leaving only the citric fizz behind. At the same time, this is my favorite of what I’ve tasted from St. George’s Spirits. Is it worth the money? Yup and all of that equals a 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.


Friday, December 2, 2022

Broken Barrel Americana Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

Seth Benhaim, the CEO and founder of Infuse Spirits, got his start early when, at only 25 years old, he became the youngest distiller to win Best in Show and Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. He wowed them with an infused vodka he created in his California garage. From there, he shifted his attention to doing something different with whiskey.


Broken Barrel Whiskey grew from that idea. Seth takes matured whiskey and then dumps it into stainless steel tanks. From there, he adds broken barrel staves that he calls an Oak Bill to mingle with the whiskey and take on additional characteristics. Instead of Seth charging an arm and leg for this artwork, his whiskeys are generally affordable. That’s something many of us appreciate these days.


Americana is a straight American whiskey distilled by MGP (now Ross & Squibb) from a mash of 80% corn, 14% rye, and 6% malted barley. The Oak Bill consists of 40% charred American oak, 40% toasted American oak, and 20% American apple brandy casks. Americana carries no age statement, but since it is labeled straight, rested at least two years before Seth tinkered with it. It weighs in at 50% ABV (100°).


Distribution is spread across 33 states and is also available online. You can expect to pay around $35.00 for a 750ml bottle.


Before I #DrinkCurious, I must thank Broken Barrel Whiskey for providing me with this sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now let’s get to it!


Appearance: After I poured this whiskey into my Glencairn glass, I observed a bright golden liquid that created a thick rim. As I tilted my glass away, slow, sticky droplets eventually fell back into the pool.


Nose: Imagine, if you will, taking a stroll through an apple orchard, and you stumble upon a basket full of freshly-picked fruit. You bend down to lift the bounty and take in a deep breath. That’s most of the aroma, with a dash or two of vanilla and honey. When I drew the air into my mouth, the apple took on a cinnamon quality.


Palate:  I found the mouthfeel to be weighty yet oily. On the front, I tasted the apple, caramel, and vanilla. When it began to work its way down, cinnamon-spiced nuts transitioned to black pepper and French oak on the back.


Finish: The medium-to-long finish was big, bold, and spicy, consisting of French oak, black pepper, nutmeg, and apple.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Broken Barrel Americana 100 was designed to be different and achieved that goal. It is a total spice bomb, but that spice level depends entirely on how quickly you sip. If you keep the whiskey flowing, those spices lack time to build on your tongue, and you have an opportunity to find the other flavors. Whereas if you pause between as I usually do, that’s when the explosion happens, muting out everything else. And because of that, this earns my Bar rating.



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.



Wednesday, November 30, 2022

I Bourbon Straight Bourbon Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


True or not, I love whiskey backstories. The most believable tend to come from Scotland, while the tallest tales are American. Perhaps it is my fondness of folklore, my admiration for Samuel Clemens, and my value of creativity. And, no matter how fascinating the background, it and how a whiskey tastes are separated into two distinct universes.


Today, I’m exploring I Bourbon, which has aggressively hit my social media feeds. I’d never heard of it, but I always am on the prowl for something new, so I reached out to the company to learn more.


“When I set out to start my own business, my goal was to create a bourbon for everyone. I wanted to create a bourbon so special – but also, so accessible – that you could enjoy it neat, on the rocks, or in your favorite whiskey cocktail. The concept of ‘I Bourbon’ was born! I hope you enjoy it. This is I Bourbon, and it’s yours.®Tripp Whitbeck, Founder


Tripp was a lawyer, a political consultant, and a corporate salesperson. But, since his childhood, Tripp has always been intrigued by complex smells and flavors. He wanted to get involved in craft spirits and became a TAM (Techniques of Alcohol Management) certified bartender to learn as much as he could about the trade. Finally, in 2019, he ditched everything and dove head-first into creating his own company.


Tripp’s story is interesting (and believable). When he and I spoke, he explained that he came up with the blending profile in his living room. His living room? If you’re like me, you immediately picture him with hoards of samples, bottles everywhere, and scientific equipment. But that’s not what happened. Instead, he had little sample bottles from distilleries around the country, and he added a little bit of this whiskey to a little bit of that until he was satisfied. He said this process took a few weeks before I Bourbon was born.


The components of I Bourbon all come from Tennessee. He started with a 13-year Bourbon, and while he felt it was delicious, it didn’t fit his goal of creating a Bourbon for everyone. He added 5- and 6-year Tennessee components before things came together. Tripp doesn’t disclose what distilleries he sourced from, but he states it is a high-corn mash that includes rye and malted barley bottled at 43% ABV (86°). I Bourbon is labeled as straight, meaning what’s inside is unadulterated by additional ingredients.


The packaging is gorgeous and different from most anything else on the store shelf. It has plenty of embossing, with a giant “I” on the back and written BOURBON vertically on the front. The stopper is clear acrylic with a synthetic cork and a gold “I” on the top. BOURBON is even embossed on the punt.


I Bourbon is sold in nine states and can be shipped to 41. Tripp indicated the suggested retail price is $59.99, and that’s what he sells it for on his website. Tripp indicated he envisions I Gin, I Vodka, I Rum, and other “universal” spirits in his wheelhouse.


Before I #DrinkCurious, I must thank Tripp for providing me with this sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s taste how Tripp did…


Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass revealed a Bourbon with a deep golden hue. A thinner rim released syrupy legs that crawled back to the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose: The telltale smell of Flinstone’s vitamins forces me to suspect at least one component comes from Dickel. Plum, nuts, honeysuckle, and cherry blossoms had to be coaxed from beneath. When I pulled the aroma into my mouth, a wave of vanilla rolled through.


Palate: The mouthfeel could best be described as silky but weighty. On the front of my palate, I discovered big, bold vanilla offset by a tinge of butterscotch. The middle was more transitionary between the front and back and didn’t offer anything identifiable. It led to oak, nutmeg, and rye spice.  


Finish: The medium-length finish featured vanilla and rye.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: While the nose screamed minerality, it never materialized in my mouth. Instead, sweet notes commanded attention, balanced by spicy flavors. There was no ethanol burn; what heat exists comes from those spices. I Bourbon is an easy sipper that lacks anything people who claim they don’t like whiskey would find unappealing. And that’s the consumer Tripp has targeted.


I Bourbon can be a tremendous toe-dipping opportunity for those who don’t indulge in neat pours. The subtle spices should lend depth to a whiskey-forward cocktail. The more experienced palate will long for something more profound than what I Bourbon provides. I Bourbon is a nice pour, but there’s also something missing. Personally, I wish it possessed a few more proof points.


Regarding the value statement, I understand how expensive it is to launch a new brand, particularly when you put forward such a beautiful package. The eye candy is nice but what counts is what’s inside. I Bourbon isn’t bad; far from it. But I can’t see myself spending $60.00 on it. As such, I Bourbon takes my Bar rating. You’ll want to try this one first. 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.



Monday, November 28, 2022

Templeton Rye Stout Cask Finish Review & Tasting Notes


Templeton Rye. If you had asked me a handful of years ago, I would have stated, ‘Nuff said. The statement had nothing in the world to do with how the quality of the whiskey it produced. In 2014, the brand had some legal snafus that I won’t rehash. The brand has since been sold and acquired by Infinium Spirits, and I’m satisfied that the subject of those claims has since been remedied.


Templeton Rye is located in Templeton, Iowa, a tiny town outside Carroll. I’ve been to Carroll many times. I’ve visited the distillery they built in 2018, which is a gorgeous, modern facility. Part of their tour involves going through its famous bootlegging history. They’ve put a lot of money and effort into the presentation, which is well worth a visit. I was stunned by how creative those bootleggers of the day were (and how the entire town was in on fooling the revenuers).


For the last four years, Templeton has released a Barrel Finish Series. As the name implies, the distillery takes its signature rye whiskey and finishes it in various vintage barrels. For 2022, it is the Stout Cask Finish, which involved taking its six-year 95% rye/5% malted barley whiskey sourced from MGP of Indiana (now called Ross & Squibb), and then placed in Imperial stout barrels for an additional three months.


“This year, our Stout Cask Finish expression provides a fresh perspective and has proven disruptive within our Barrel Finish Series, mixing subtle coffee tones with rye pepper and spice. This new-to-market release is sure to elevate any classic cocktail.” – Blair Woodall, Senior Vice President/General Manager


I don’t partake in beer, and I describe myself as beer-stupid. Any mention of beer-influenced whiskey requires me to research. According to


“Imperial stout, widely known as Russian imperial stout, is a strong and rich dark beer. Enthusiasts call this beer a history lesson in a bottle because there’s a rather interesting story behind the imperial stout. […] The story behind imperial stouts is usually traced back to a request made by Peter the Great. In 1698, when Peter the Great visited England from Russia, he is said to have tasted a black beverage called stout. He liked it so much that he had some sent to the court after returning to Russia.


However, the brewers realized that the stout was getting damaged during the journey, so they added more hops and alcohol to keep it fresh. The exact stout that Peter the Great drank in England is not known, but this was the beginning of the emergence of dark beer.”


Stout Cask Finish is bottled at 46% ABV (92°) and is available in limited quantities in both the US and EU. If I took a wild stab in the dark, I’d assume it is easier to obtain in Iowa than anywhere else. The suggested retail is $54.99 for a 750ml package.


Before I get going on the #DrinkCurious thing, I must thank Templeton Rye for providing me with a sample of Stout Cask Finish in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this whiskey appeared as bold caramel. It formed a thicker rim that generated slow, sticky tears.


Nose: An aroma of chocolate, toasted oak, and malted barley melded with caramel and fig. Cocoa powder stuck to my tongue when I drew that air into my mouth.


Palate: Stout Cask Finish had a rich, creamy texture that coated everywhere. At the front of my palate, I tasted cocoa powder, roasted almond, and vanilla cream. Midway through the sipping experience, I discovered dried figs and apricots, while on the back, there was ginger, dry oak, and roasted coffee.


Finish: The long, spicy finish consisted of ginger, dry cocoa, and roasted coffee.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  As I said, I’m not a beer drinker, and as such, I can’t tell you how much Templeton’s Stout Cask Finish reflects what you might expect. However, I can comment on my own experience with this Rye.


Stout Cask Finish carries a decent thump despite being only 92°. By that, I don’t allude to burn or heat. It was potent. I found the blend of cocoa, nut, and ginger spice pleasant. Incidentally, I was at a cousin’s house when I sampled this whiskey; she is a big stout fan.  I let her taste it, and she couldn’t stop talking about how much she savored this.


The $54.99 investment isn’t out of line and is on the lower end for many limited-run American “craft” whiskeys. Taking everything into account, I’m giving Stout Cask Finish my coveted 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.


Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Devil's River Barrel Strength Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

During the summer of 2019, I had an opportunity to taste and review Devil’s River Bourbon Whiskey.  The brand had been advertising like crazy on social media, which prompted me to find a pour and see if it was worth it or not. Here is the summation of my review:


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  William Faulkner said, “There is no such thing as bad whiskey. Some whiskey just happens to be better than others.” Yeah, okay, whatever. For me to say that Devil’s River Bourbon is a bad whiskey is an insult to bad whiskey. You will not sin responsibly if you spend $20.00 on it, because this one’s a definite Bust.


Part of the #DrinkCurious lifestyle is to revisit whiskeys (or brands) you didn’t like in the past. I’ve done this many times, and my mind is changed every so often. Everyone deserves a second chance, right? Right.


Today I’m trying the Devil’s River Bourbon Barrel Strength version. It is the same mashbill of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley. It rested in #4 new, charred oak barrels for an indeterminate time and, as such, carries no age statement. The distiller is still Jus-Made/Southwest Bottling. What Devil’s River does differently is they proof it down with water from the namesake’s river.


Devil’s River Barrel Strength is bottled at 117° and retails for $39.99 on its website.  It is available in all but 17 states, and as such, should be pretty easy to get your hands on. Because of my previous experience, I chose to purchase a 50ml taster at a Minneapolis-area liquor store.


Proof definitely can make a difference between good and bad whiskey. The barrel strength version is 27 proof points higher than the original. That’s significant. Will I like this one better? Let’s find out!


Appearance: A bright, gold hue of amber, this Bourbon formed a skinny rim and gave up slow teardrops.


Nose:  The first smell I experienced was cinnamon spice. There was something sweet underneath, almost plum-like, then corn, and, finally, sawdust. As I drew the air into my mouth, I finally picked up the vanilla you’d expect in a Bourbon.


Palate:  An oily, viscous texture greeted my tongue and offered sweet flavors of vanilla, caramel, and butterscotch. And that was the end of anything sweet.

Do you remember as a kid taking toothpicks and soaking them in liquid cinnamon for a few days? Then, you’d stick one in your mouth, and it would be like fire! You’d watch your friends try to tough it out, but eventually, it would be too much to handle. They’d shed a tear or two. That’s the middle.


The back offered only black pepper and dry oak.


Finish:  Long, spicy, and bitter, the finish featured notes of black pepper, plum, and dry oak.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: It has been three years since I last tasted Devil’s River. I wasn’t a fan. Additional proof points did make a difference, but they didn’t improve the experience. I don’t like to say this about whiskey; I prefer to give some constructive feedback, but there just isn’t anything nice I can tell, so I won’t. Plain and simple, this is a Bust. 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.



Monday, November 21, 2022

Trader Joe's 8-Year Speyside Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes

If you delve beyond your neighborhood liquor and grocery stores, you have the opportunity to run into off-the-radar whiskies. They’re private label stuff, but well-known brands make them. Often, they come at a discounted price. However, these whiskies become a crapshoot because you don’t know if you’re finding a hidden gem or something that is gross.


I’ve had a mixed bag of luck regarding Trader Joe’s private-label Bourbons and Scotches. Islay Storm is one of my favorites and one that I keep on hand. The worst (by far) was Kentucky Bourbon Straight Whiskey.


Mrs. Whiskeyfellow likes to shop at Trader Joe’s. And, because she’s incredible, she takes photos of things I might find interesting in the event I want her to purchase them. She showed me Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whiskey at a $20.00 price. It was eight years old. I told her to go for it – after all, if it turned out to be a Bust, it isn’t as if we were out a lot of money.


As expected, this Scotch is packaged at 40% ABV (80°). I would have been shocked if it was any higher. It is produced and bottled by Alistair Duncan Ltd., which tells us nothing because even a Google search came up with barely any information beyond it being a dormant company founded 28 years ago. And, since there are more Speyside distilleries than the other regions combined, your guess is as good as anyone who distilled it.


Let’s #DrinkCurious and learn if I’ve discovered an opportunity to #RespectTheBottomShelf or if I bought a loser.


Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, this Speyside Scotch presented as dull gold. A thick rim released watery legs that crashed back into the pool.


Nose: A big blast of butterscotch hit my nostrils, followed by apple, pear, and apricot. The apricot carried through as I drew the air in past my lips. So far, so good.


Palate: The mouthfeel was thin and lacked anything memorable. The front of my palate encountered butterscotch, dried apricot, and almond, while the middle featured brine and walnut. The back had flavors of oak and white pepper.


Finish:  There was a definitive bitter quality to the medium-long finish. Once it dissipated, oak tannins, walnut, and brine remained.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I have no clue who distilled this and couldn’t begin to hazard a guess. It isn’t that it reminded me of a handful of distilleries; instead, none came to mind. Trader Joe’s Speyside Single Malt Scotch would make a decent base for a cocktail. I don’t buy whiskies for mixing; my rule of thumb is good cocktails are made with good whisky. If you remind yourself that this is only a $20.00 whisky, you may convince yourself it was a good buy. However, this is not one I’d opt to drink again and pulls the Bust card. 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.



Friday, November 18, 2022

Copperworks Distilling Releases No. 044 and 045 American Single Malt Whiskey Reviews & Tasting Notes

I’ve been sipping several American Single Malts from Copperworks Distilling Co. out of Seattle. I’ve found what this distillery offers impressive so far, and I appreciate how they’re willing to go above and beyond to create some genuinely unique releases. I loved Release No. 042, which was peated. Then, there was its charity release benefiting Kentucky tornado and Hurricane Ian victims, which I found delightful.


Copperworks was named the 2018 Distillery of the Year by the American Distilling Institute. It offers American Single Malts, vodka, and gins. Everything it produces comes from malted barley.


The owners (and distillers) are Jason Parker and Michah Nutt. Both are experienced brewers, and they went into distilling to see what they could do with turning craft beer into spirits. Copperworks utilizes traditional Scottish copper pot stills.


Today I’m exploring two whiskeys:  Release No. 044 and Release No. 045. Both samples were provided to me by Copperworks in exchange for no-strings-attached, honest reviews. Without further delay, let’s #DrinkCurious and discover what these are all about.


Release No. 044 Single Malt Whiskey

Release No. 044 is a single malt constructed from a batch of eight casks. Half were distilled from Great Western Pale Malt and aged between 45 to 52 months in new, charred oak. Three came from a distillate of Baronesse barley and aged in new, charred oak for 56 months, while the last barrel came from a “Queen’s Run” and aged for 60 months in new, charred oak. As such, it carries a 45-month age statement. A 750ml, 100° package is priced at $69.99.


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this single malt presented as a golden amber. The medium rim released slow, sticky tears that hugged the side of the glass.


Nose: A fruity bouquet of apple, pear, and lemon peel blended with rich vanilla. As I drew the air into my mouth, lemon oil was evident.


Palate: Initially, the texture was oily and warm, but subsequent sips transformed into a creamy mouthfeel. Flavors of apple, pear, and plum were on the front, with lemon and orange peels and pineapple at mid-palate. The back provided cocoa powder, butterscotch, and oak.


Finish: Coffee, lemon curd, plum, oak, and butterscotch provided a highly-unusual combination in my mouth and throat. It lasted only a short time before it fell completely off.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: A lot was going for this whiskey. I wish the finish was longer because I enjoyed what I was tasting. However, sometimes we don’t always get what we want. Fortunately, I wanted a tasty whiskey and Release No. 044 delivered. I’m happy to have this in my whiskey library; it has earned my Bottle rating. 


Release No. 045 Single Malt Whiskey

Release No. 045 carries a 36-month age statement. It, too, is an American Single Malt. This time, the varietal used was Fritz barley. Almost all of it resided in new, charred oak, while a tiny portion slept in Manzanilla sherry casks for 60 months. It was bottled at 100° and priced at $69.99 for a 750ml package.


Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass revealed a liquid representing an authentic orange amber. The medium ring it formed created slow, thick legs.


Nose: The aroma started pleasant with raisin, plum, and lemon, then took on a cardboard note. When I took the air into my mouth, crisp apple dragged across my tongue.


Palate: I found the texture to be thin and oily. The front of my palate deciphered vanilla, cinnamon, and apple, while the middle featured lemon peel and orange bitters. On the back, I tasted cocoa powder, oak, and new leather.


Finish: Medium in length, Release No. 045 offered apple, orange peel, new leather, and bitters.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I admit I was not a fan of the bitters, which is strange because I use them in cocktails. However, with a neat pour, it didn’t seem to work. It was an interesting experience sipping Release No. 045, but it doesn’t seem like it is one of Copperworks' better offerings. This one earned a Bar 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.