Showing posts with label La Crosse Distilling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label La Crosse Distilling. Show all posts

Friday, August 27, 2021

La Crosse Distilling High Hawk & Robber's Straight Rye Whiskeys Reviews & Tasting Notes

 


Two-and-a-half years ago, I was introduced to La Crosse Distilling Company with its High Rye Light Whiskey. It was interesting but left me somewhere between a Bar and Bottle rating. When that happens, I defer to the lower rating.


A few weeks ago, La Crosse Distilling reached out to me curious if I'd be interested in reviewing some of their straight rye whiskey. Of course, I was interested! As it turned out, there were multiple options. Part of those options came from then-defunct Death's Door Spirits, which has since been resurrected by Dancing Goat Distillery in Cambridge, Wisconsin.  La Crosse picked up some barrels from inventory, brought them back to its own warehouse, and allowed them to age.


The result created two new labels:  High Hawk and Robber's Straight Ryes. Both are three years old, both are barrel proof. Both run about $39.99 for 750ml bottles. What's the difference? I'll get to that in a moment. But, I'd like to thank La Crosse Distilling for providing me samples in exchange for no-strings-attached, honest reviews.


Up first is High Hawk, only because it of 100° which is slightly lower than the Robber's. High Hawk is a single-barrel whiskey, meant to celebrate the inaugural album of a band called, you guessed it, High Hawk




Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, High Hawk was the color of copper. It formed a medium rim that generated thick legs that raced back to the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose: Nuts, toasted oak, vanilla, and muted fruits took some effort to pull out, which was surprising considering the stated proof. When I inhaled through my open lips, I picked out vanilla.


Palate:  A warm, oily mouthfeel greeted me as I took my first sip. The front tasted like caramel and old leather. On the middle, mint and rye spice morphed to tobacco leaf and lightly-toasted oak on the back.


Finish:  Medium in length, mint dominated. Hidden underneath were caramel, tobacco, and coffee.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I would have preferred less muted flavors on the palate. This was a very soft whiskey, my guess is wheat was involved, and perhaps more significant than 5%. La Crosse says this is high-rye, and potentially anything over 51% rye would be "high rye" since there's no legal definition. But, this certainly didn't act like a "high rye" whiskey. The price is nice, the proof could be higher, but as this is barrel-proof, that's not possible. Like the Light Whiskey, I'm a bit on the fence here, and that means it takes a Bar rating.


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The next whiskey was Robber's. It is a blend of four barrels of Maryland-style Rye made by Death's Door and weighs in at 101°. The backstory on this one is what you'd expect from many labels:


"Years ago we caught wind that a bunch of Wisconsin-made rye whiskey was being loaded onto a train and shipped out of state to age somewhere unknown for reasons too painful to share. We couldn't let that happen. We set out to find that train and recuse as many barrels of rye whiskey as we could. We devised a disguise and waited for the right moment to make our move. We can't tell you much more than that..."


And hence, you have the name Robber's.





Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Robber's was slightly lighter in color - very slightly. I held them up side-by-side and rotated sides to be sure. An ultra-thin rim was created, the legs were husky but slowly crawled down the wall.


Nose:  The nose was lighter than I'd expect, especially considering the proof. But I did pick out toasted oak, caramel, and sawdust. This made me wonder if smaller barrels were used. As I drew the vapor into my mouth, rye spice was obvious.


Palate:  I found the mouthfeel oily with a medium body. Toasted oak and vanilla bean were on the front. The middle presented tobacco leaf and clove. On the back, I tasted rye spice, thick caramel, and cinnamon.


Finish:  Medium-long in length, the finish gave my hard palate a tingle. Toasted oak came through, along with black pepper and rye spice. 


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  There's value here, especially considering the proof and price. Sure, it is only three years old, but Rye matures faster than Bourbon. This was flavorful and I enjoyed it. All of that adds up to a Bottle rating. 


Final Thoughts: When I do multiple reviews in one post, I generally like to compare the two and see which one I like better. If I was interested in something light and easy to sip, I'd choose the High Hawk.  If, on the other hand, I desired something closer to traditional rye, Robber's would be the winner. For me, I found Robber's more appealing. 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.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

La Crosse Distilling "Reboar'n" Light Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes



A little over a year ago, I reviewed a standard release of La Crosse Distilling Co.'s High Rye Light Whiskey.  It was the first decent Light Whiskey I'd tasted and earned somewhere between a Bar and Bottle rating. I've passed the bottle around to several people and the reviews were mixed. Some people really enjoyed it, others said it was decent but not great. I don't recall anyone saying it was lacking. But, that also validated my rating.


If you're not familiar with La Crosse Distilling, it is a craft distillery in (you guessed it) La Crosse, Wisconsin. It uses only organic, locally-grown ingredients, and the still is powered by geothermal energy, making it very earth-friendly.  It makes gins, vodkas, rock & rye, and light whiskey.  Barrels are sourced locally from Staggemeyer Stave Co., located 20 minutes southwest of the distillery. They're currently aging Bourbon and other whiskeys.  Their Light Whiskey is a mash of rye and wheat.


Today, I'm reviewing another High Rye Light Whiskey from La Crosse Distilling. What's different about this one?  Well, this one aged one year and a day in used Wisconsin Full Boar Straight Rye barrels. This was a collaboration between La Crosse Distilling and Niemuth's Southside Market in Appleton, and as such, it is exclusively available at Niemuth's.  The barrel yield was 125 90°-bottles and can be purchased for $29.99. Niemuth's decided to name this one Reboar'n


I'd like to thank Niemuth's for providing me with a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. So, let's get to it. Time to #DrinkCurious


Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, this Reboar'n appears the color of straw. It left a very thin rim on the wall of my glass, and that rim never generated any legs. The rim just stuck like glue.


Nose:  Despite its aging for a year, it still had the aroma of buttered popcorn like many new-make whiskeys do. It lacked any alcohol vapor to the face. I found light oak and then, surprisingly, caramel. My guess is that caramel came from the previously-barreled rye.  When I inhaled through my lips initially, I tasted nothing. However, after repeated attempts, a hint of citrus materialized.


Palate:  The mouthfeel was creamy and coating. It also smacked my hard palate hard, which took me aback. I had to remind myself that this is only 90°!  Up at the front was an obvious rye spice dusted with cinnamon. As it moved to the middle, I tasted floral and citrus notes. It was an interesting combination. The back was all dry oak.


Finish:  My throat was warmed by a very long, spicy finish of clove and rye.  I would estimate it lasted just beyond three minutes before it began to wander off.  Clove is something I find appealing in whiskey, and that brought a smile to my face.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Because of the high-rye mash and ex-rye barrel aging, Reboar'n took on a lot of rye character, much more than the original version I tasted last year. If you really enjoy spicy rye, then Reboar'n is going to be a Bottle rating for you. If you haven't delved much (or at all) into Light Whiskeys, you may want to try this one first (giving it a Bar rating).  Cheers!





My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System:
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It








Sunday, March 31, 2019

La Crosse Distilling High Rye Light Whiskey Review



Light Whiskey.  If you don't know what Light Whiskey is, it is essentially distilled between 160° and 190°, then aged anywhere from around five seconds (like Pabst's new whiskey) on down to however long in either "used" or new uncharred oak barrels. Light Whiskey has been around for about as long as I've been alive - I'm an old fart. But, Light Whiskey isn't all that common. It was essentially created to compete with vodka, gin, and other "light" spirits back when Bourbon was starting to lose its appeal.


I've had Light Whiskeys before. They're certainly different from anything else I've had. But, I've never taken the time to review one. That's now changed with La Crosse Distilling's High Rye Light Whiskey. As the name suggests, it is made with a high-rye mash, which is also blended with wheat. The mash comes from local farmers in La Crosse, Wisconsin and then distilled in-house. Everything at La Crosse Distilling is 100% certified organic, their facility is powered by geothermal energy, and they've been open since September 2018.


The label suggests this Light Whiskey is aged "at least one day" and the website confirms it is "kissed" by White American Oak for a single day. It is bottled at 90° and the suggested retail is $29.99.


I'd like to thank La Crosse Distilling for providing me a sample for a no-strings-attached, honest review.


La Crosse Distilling recommends using this whiskey in a cocktail or by adding a few drops of water. For the purposes of my review, I'll try it both neat and with a few drops of distilled water. Time to #DrinkCurious.


In the glass, the appearance was like a Pinot Grigio. As you'd imagine, it was very light in color. It left a thinner rim on my Glencairn but generated a fat, wavy curtain that dropped back to the pool.


The nose was very much like newmake. Again, that's expected from something that is technically aged. The rye really shined through. Beneath the rye, I picked up buttered popcorn. Inhaling through my lips brought a sweet moonshine flavor. Two drops of distilled water enhanced the buttered popcorn aroma.


Sipping this neat, the mouthfeel was just like drinking a glass of water, with the same viscosity and weight. I expected it to be softer and was pleasantly surprised. There was a definitive rye spice, but the wheat mellowed it and took down all the anticipated sharpness. With the additional water, the mouth thickened.  The spiciness diminished but yielded floral notes.


Neat, the finish was long but delicate. As it built, I was able to pick up that "kiss" of oak. When it subsided, there was no burn whatsoever. This was obviously proofed correctly. With the added water, the oak exploded. When the oak dropped off, the finish became peppery and kept building, giving it a longer finish versus the neat pour.


Bottle, Bar or Bust:   I said at the start of this review that I've had Light Whiskeys before and haven't reviewed them. Part of the reason was that I'd never buy one on my own. I haven't enjoyed Light Whiskeys. Saying all of that I found La Crosse High Rye Light Whiskey to be a much different experience. This one hovers somewhere between a Bottle and Bar.  I could see sipping this on a hot summer's day, maybe after mowing my lawn while hanging out on the deck and watching the sunset (even if my deck faces east instead of west). I honestly would not select this as an everyday pour, I personally like a "heavier" whiskey. However, this one surprised me and is very good for what it is - a Light Whiskey.


On a side note, while the bottle suggests adding water, I enjoyed this one better neat.  I'm excited to see what the future holds for La Crosse Distilling.


Cheers!