Thursday, September 24, 2020

2019 Ameireaganach Maris Otter Single Malt Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

"Part of our Ameireaganach Series of Single Malts, Maris Otter is an unpeated, single varietal single malt that we distilled from the “holy grail” of brewing malts, Maris Otter, known for its pale, malty character." 

If you're like me, you're looking at that quote and wondering how to even say the name of the series. It means American in Scottish Gaelic, and it is pronounced a whole lot easier than it is spelled:  Amer-i-connick. Now that I've taught you how to sound Scottish, what is it all about?

Let me start with ASW Distillery, which is located in Atlanta. ASW was only the second legal distillery in Atlanta since Prohibition. Master Distiller Justin Manglitz is a self-educated brewer whose dream was to become a distiller. Using dual Scottish-style copper pot stills constructed by Vendome, ASW's mission is to Do Something You Love

One of the whiskeys Manglitz distills is called Ameireaganach. It is an annual release of American Single Malts. Today I'm reviewing the 2019 edition, which is distilled from 100% Maris Otter barley, which is apparently something very special for brewers. Once fermented and run through the still, it is aged in #3 and #4 new, charred oak barrels.  Two-thirds of those barrels are #3 char, the remaining third is #4. While it carries no age statement, we know that means at least four years. It is bottle cask strength at 115.2° and a bottle will run about $53.00.

A friend gifted me a sample of this whiskey in exchange for my honest, no-holds-barred review. With that being said, it is time to #DrinkCurious.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, this Scottish-style American Single Malt appeared as chestnut in color.  It left a thin rim and very fast legs to drop back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

Nose:  Even before I was ready to start interacting with the glass, the room filled with fragrant, fruity notes. As I brought the glass to my face and inhaled it, it was like I was sniffing Heaven. Yeah, my brain went there and I don't know why. It started off with candied fruits and so many different kinds that I lost track. Stone fruits, berries, pineapple, and citrus were all in the mix. It was difficult to determine where one ended and the next began.  Once I got past those notes, I found dark chocolate, then toasted oak, then vanilla, and then pear. When I inhaled through my lips, it was definitely cinnamon apple.

Palate:  The first sip provided a thin and very oily mouthfeel. Additional sips kept that texture. The front started with an apple and, in a strange but pleasurable combination, fudge. Mid-palate was a blend of cinnamon spice, oak, pineapple, toasted coconut, raisin, and plum. Then, on the back, those fruity notes became candied, and all of a sudden there was the same issue with the nose: it became near-impossible to identify what fruits were dancing with one another. Beyond the fruit were pecan and oak. 

Finish:  A way-too-short finish rounded things up. I don't mean it was short in length, rather, I didn't want it to end!  Medium in length, it consisted of fudge, clove, and raisin.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I won't say this was the single most complex nose I've experienced, but I couldn't tell you what would beat it. It was beyond crazy. I thought I'd have an easy time with the palate from both the front and middle, but, oh, that back! I have never heard of ASW Distilling prior to this sample, but they've captivated my attention. 

How amazing is this American Single Malt? I could see this being a serious contender for my 2020 American Whiskey of the Year if not my Whiskey of the Year. Yeah, this is that good. The fact this can be had for only $53.00 is mind-blowing. I shouldn't need to say this, but this one earns the coveted Bottle recommendation. Cheers!

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

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