Spirit Works Distillery of Sonoma County, California, is a grain-to-glass operation founded in 2012 by the husband-and-wife team of Timo and Ashby Marshall. Ashby is the original Head Distiller, and Krystal Goulart, who trained under Ashby, is also a distiller. Interestingly, Spirit Works earned the 2020 ADI Distiller of the Year award. All of the grain they work with is organic.
I’ve reviewed Spirit Works before, and to be completely blunt, I was not pleased. However, one of the fun things about a #DrinkCurious lifestyle is you get to revisit distilleries that missed the mark.
It certainly helps that Lost Lantern, an independent bottler that has impressed me with its ability to pick impressive barrels, chose a Rye from Spirit Works. This one is called Fall 2021 Single Cask #4. It starts with a mash of 70% organic rye, 10% malted rye, and 20% malted barley. Once distilled, it rested five years in 53-gallon new American oak barrels from Independent Stave Company. Fall 2021 Release 3 is non-chill filtered, naturally colored, and weighs in at a hefty 122°. A 750ml bottle sells for $80.00, and there are 195 available for purchase.
I want to thank Lost Lantern for setting up this second-chance opportunity for Spirit Works in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it!
Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, this whiskey was the color of burnt umber. For only five years old, that was nice to see. The rim was almost invisible, and thick, fast tears returned to the pool.
Nose: Oak was the first thing my nose picked out. Plum, floral rye, brown sugar, and a whiff of cinnamon followed. As I drew the vapor into my open mouth, clove woke my palate.
Palate: An oily texture greeted my tongue. Dark chocolate was the only note on the front. Nutmeg and rye bread were next, with spiced oak, cinnamon, clove, and oak on the back.
Finish: The cinnamon note kept building into Red Hots. The oak became dry, and dark chocolate outlasted everything. Overall, it was a long finish that seemed well-balanced.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I found the nose enticing, especially with the clove. The palate was deep and spicy. The finish would satisfy anyone looking for something warm. Is Fall 2021 Single Cask #4 a bad pour? Not at all. Is it an $80.00 pour? I’m not convinced. I would say, however, that I’m interested in trying more things from Spirit Works, as this was much better than what I tasted earlier this year. This Rye takes 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.