Monday, March 7, 2022

Whiskey Forty Saloon Small Batch Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

On Bainbridge Island, Washington, the first 100% USDA-certified organic distillery exists called, interestingly enough, Bainbridge Organic Distillers. It is a grain-to-glass operation, distilling whiskey, vodka, and gin. Its distiller and founder, Keith Barnes, sources grains from only local farmers in Walla Walla, Skagit, and Snohomish counties. Everything else happens in-house.


“We founded this distillery with the belief that being small is an advantage, and with a dedication to complete transparency in our process, our ingredients and our business practices. We are proud to be independent, and independently minded. We are dedicated to the rule that if we can't do something the right way, and if we wouldn't be happy sharing what we do with fellow enthusiasts, we won't do it at all.” – Bainbridge Organic Distillers


Today I’m tasting Whiskey Forty Saloon Small Batch Bourbon. Bainbridge chose the name to pay homage to a 1840’s-era saloon on the island. This Bourbon began with a mash of 60% heirloom corn, 25% old variety triticale, and 15% soft white wheat. Once distilled, Bainbridge filled 53-gallon new, American white oak barrels with a #3 char before having those rest at least five-and-a-half years (yet, it carries no age statement). Packaged at 100°, you can expect to shell out $89.99 for a 750ml bottle.


While perusing the aisles of Lukas Liquor Superstore in Lone Tree (a Denver suburb), Colorado, Joe Brunner, the owner, introduced himself to me. After a fun discussion, Joe invited me to try Whiskey Forty Saloon and asked me to review it: good, bad, or ugly (in other words, a no-strings-attached, honest review). As I’ve never heard of this Bourbon, I relished the opportunity.


Appearance:  Poured neat (I did not use a Glencairn glass), this Bourbon presented as deep caramel. It formed a medium rim which created fat, slow droplets.


Nose: An aroma of toasted oak was the first thing I smelled. I also experienced frosted cinnamon rolls, corn, and caramel. A blast of butterscotch raced across my tongue when I drew the vapor past my open lips.


Palate:  The texture was silky and full-bodied. On the front, I tasted caramel, vanilla, and corn. The middle featured cinnamon, cherry, and English toffee, while the back offered dark chocolate, clove, and toasted oak.


Finish:  Medium to long in duration, the finish left flavors of cinnamon, toasted oak, caramel, clove, and the longest of all, dark chocolate.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  My understanding is that Whiskey Forty Saloon is on the difficult side to get your hands on. Considering that other hard-to-find five-plus-year American whiskeys can easily eclipse $100.00, the $89.99 investment doesn’t seem out of line. So far as the drinking experience overall, Whiskey Forty Saloon doesn’t drink like a typical wheater. Its mouthfeel certainly does, but the spicier notes are thanks to the triticale component. I smiled a lot while tasting it, and as such, it takes my 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.


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