Cedar Ridge The QuintEssential American Single Malt Review & Tasting Notes


I've been drinking several American Single Malts the last few years. They're all over the place, partially due to distiller experience, venue, type of barley used, and the fact that this is a completely unregulated category, so distillers can pretty much do whatever they want, attempting various aging methods, casks, etc. They're allowed to call their whiskey a Single Malt even if the malts come from different locations.

The Quint family at Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery has been involved in the distilling business for nine generations. The Master Distiller, Jeff Quint, and his son, Murphy, the Head Distiller, have been long-time fans of Scotch whiskey and collaborated to create their own Single Malt, called The QuintEssential. Murphy learned how to distill from the folks at Stranahan's in Colorado. 

The QuintEssential starts with two-row barley imported from Canada. That barley then gets split between a peated and non-peated germination process. The peated portion's distillate goes through an aging process of between four to five years in former Cedar Ridge Bourbon barrels. The unpeated goes through a two-step process:  the first is aged in former Cedar Ridge Bourbon barrels for two to three years, and then finished in former rum, port, brandy, sherry, and wine barrels. Then, both are married in Cedar Ridge's solera system.  Entry proof is 120°, and the end result is a 92° bottling that retails for about $59.99.

“It’s during these two cask treatment phases that the whiskey develops its complexity and richness, and by never emptying the solera beyond the halfway mark, we gain a consistent complexity you can’t get from single barrels.” - Master Distiller Jeff Quint

How did Jeff and Murphy do? The only way to know for sure is to #DrinkCurious. But, before I do, I'd like to thank Cedar Ridge for sending me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. 

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, The QuintEssential presented as pale gold in color. It created a thicker-than-expected rim on the wall which formed fat droplets. Those droplets grew until they became too heavy to sustain their weight and then fell back into the pool.

Nose:  I could swear the first thing I sniffed was fresh apple pie, including the filling, cinnamon, nutmeg, and crust. There was also a chocolate-covered cherry on top. When I pulled the vapor through my open lips, stewed peaches caressed my tongue.

Palate:  Offering a medium body, The QuintEssential started with creamy vanilla, peach, and raisin bread. That transformed to pear, caramel, and molasses on the middle. The back suggested brown sugar, cherry, and oak.

Finish:  Out of nowhere came the peat. It wasn't overwhelming, it was light and sweet. Dry oak followed, with molasses and chocolate. This finish was one that built its way into a long, satisfying experience.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  The QuintEssential is a standout. I wish more American distilleries tinkered with peat. This American Single Malt is a great introduction to it because the peat is understated compared to the rest of this whiskey. I loved the fruitiness, I enjoyed the complexity, and I wish I could find something to complain about, but I can't. Even the price is attractive. This is what American Single Malt should be, and a slam-dunk 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.