I love when friends hand me a bottle of whiskey and request I put together a review. I love it even more when I’ve never heard of the distillery, and it is so micro that I go into the tasting experience completely blind.
When I was at Distill America a couple of weeks ago, a friend slipped a sample bottle in my hand. A family member was in Arizona and gave it to her. At the 2022 event, they also gave me samples to reflect upon.
Canyon Diablo Spirits & Distillery is located in Flagstaff, Arizona. Aside from the backstory from the brand's website, there’s not much information about the operation.
Canyon Diablo Spirits, located in Flagstaff, AZ, was formed in 2013 by the three owners with a passion for distilling and brewing, and a taste for good spirits and beer. One owner had recently embarked on starting a microbrewery. Two of the owners were former members (one the master distiller/brewer) of the first legal distillery in Arizona which had ceased operation, and were looking to start their own distillery. Through happenstance the three owners met up and Canyon Diablo Spirits was born.” – Canyon Diablo Spirits
I’m unsure when the website was last updated because Grand Canyon Bourbon is not mentioned, which is the whiskey I’m tasting today. In fact, there are no whiskeys at all listed, just gin and a couple of vodkas.
What little I could glean is for about $30.00, you can acquire a 750ml package that weighs in at 42% ABV (84°) and is available at various Arizona retailers. I know nothing about the mashbill, the type or size of cooperage used, or how long it sat in oak. Flagstaff does sit at about 7000 feet in elevation, bringing a far different exposure than most other distilleries experience.
Let’s get to the #DrinkCurious part and discover what this Bourbon is all about.
Appearance: I sipped this whiskey neat from my Glencairn glass. It was the color of straw; it created a massive rim. Huge tears slowly fell back into the pool of liquid sunshine.
Nose: The first thought that hit my mind as I started sniffing Grand Canyon was it is likely a wheated Bourbon. It was mellow with sweet corn, vanilla, toasted oak, and nutmeg. Inhaling the vapor into my mouth revealed butterscotch.
Palate: The texture further convinced me this is a wheater. It was gentle yet weighty. Vanilla and sweet corn hit the front of my palate. My mid-palate tasted nutmeg and caramel, while the back offered flavors of toasted oak, cinnamon sugar, and white pepper.
Finish: This low-proof Bourbon had a longer-than-anticipated finish made of white pepper, toasted oak, caramel, and candy corn. It hugged the back of my tongue and down in my throat.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I’m doing a lot of guessing here, but my experience tells me this is a youngish, wheated Bourbon that aged in standard, lightly-charred 53-gallon barrels. Of course, I could be totally off. But, for $30.00, Grand Canyon got my attention. I don’t believe it is available outside of Arizona but pick up a Bottle if you find yourself that way. I think you’ll be impressed, too. 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.