Black Whiskey Peruvian Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


One of the things I truly appreciate about the Wonderful World of Whiskey is when something unique out there teeters on the unknown. It allows me to share what I’ve discovered with the rest of the world.


Michael Kuryla and his wife, Daiana Paola Milon Mayer, left a thriving American construction business and moved to LurĂ­n, Peru, to start a distillery in 2016. It wasn’t going to be just another me-too distillery; they wanted to do something no one else had done before. They aimed to distill Bourbon-like whiskey using Andean Black Corn (or black Aztec corn). The corn is special; it only grows at an altitude of 10,000 feet or higher, and the strain dates back to at least 1200 BC. After constructing the Don Michael distillery and getting it up and running, Michael put his idea into motion: Black Whiskey. Theirs is the first and, according to Michael, the only distillery making whiskey from Andean Black Corn.


Water is a big deal to Michael and Daiana. The distillery sits atop the Lurin Aquifer, the water's source. Before use, it is filtered to remove any impurities.


The whiskey comes from a mash of 60% corn, 30% malted wheat, and 10% malted barley. The last two grains were imported from the United States, as are the custom American white oak barrels. Those new barrels were built to hold 10, 15, and 50 gallons of new make and were charred and heavily toasted before any liquid was deposited inside.


Michael utilizes a copper pot still and double-distills the whiskey. Entry proof is just under 120°; the barrels rest for three to five years before the whiskey is ready to be filtered and bottled. There is no added coloring; everything is 100% natural. Daiana is in charge of quality control and barrel selection.


Black Whiskey is packaged at 45% ABV (90°), and I procured my 750ml bottle from a Colorado liquor store for $49.99.


Now that I’ve got all the background done, my mind (and tastebuds) is anxiously waiting for me to #DrinkCurious and learn how Black Whiskey turned out.


Appearance: I sipped this whiskey neat from my Glencairn glass. It was aptly named, for sure. While not black in color, it was a deep, dark mahogany. A medium rim formed, releasing slow droplets that crawled back to the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose: Unsurprisingly, an aroma of corn was present as I brought the glass to my face. Big molasses notes spilled out, along with banana, sweet raisin, raw almond, and oak. When I drew the air through my lips, butterscotch rolled across my tongue.


Palate: Thick and viscous, this whiskey tasted of corn, almond, and brown sugar on the front. The more I sipped, the heavier the mouthfeel became. Midway through, I encountered vanilla, caramel, and nutmeg. Flavors of allspice, charred oak, coffee, and chocolate were on the back.


Finish:  Smoke, barrel char, molasses, and mocha made for a very long finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I don’t know that I would call Black Whiskey bourbon-like, for it is unlike any Bourbon I’ve had before. The first sip offered a lot to get through. Subsequent sips allowed me to concentrate on the texture and flavors. Black Whiskey is unique in a great way. I don’t generally enjoy whiskey aged in smaller barrels. While there are telltale signs of its use, this whiskey is well-balanced and complex. It made me smile. When I consider the affordability factor, Black Whiskey earned every bit of my Bottle rating. You’re going to love this one. 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.