This is a weird one, from an American craft distillery. I’ve come to learn after some years of skepticism that there are quite some kick-ass little distilleries in the USA, whether or not they’re releasing their own spirits or buying and blending for a while before going back to releasing their own stuff.
High West is one of them (Park City Utah), being both a bottler and a distiller. St. George is another (Alameda, California), and during the American Whiskey bottle share from last year I developed a soft spot for FEW Distillery (Evanston, Illinois). Their bourbon at least.
Ever since the Whiskey Tees program I have gotten more curious to other craft distilleries, but with two little screamers at home I’m not expecting to do a road trip of the United States anytime soon. There are drawbacks to having kids. Sleep is another of those.
Anyway, Wasmund’s is a distillery in Sperryville, Virginia and is mostly known for releasing a Single Malt whiskey and a Rye whiskey. The rye is the one being reviewed here, is only one year old but let’s not get too hung up on age this time!
This whiskey consists of 2/3 Rye and 1/3 malted barley, which is a curious mixture for rye whisky on its own. Also, it’s lightly smoked with apple and cherry wood, and matured in refill casks. Not typically American, that!
Well, it’s different, that’s for sure! It’s young but not too fierce and raw. There’s rye with its typical spiciness. I get some lemon too, and oak. The oak is gently smoky which is a different smoke than I’m used to.
The palate is gentle with cereal (the barley) and whole grain rye bread. There’s the spices again with pink peppercorns. The citrus is present too, with a spice mixture that reminds me of mostly seeds and hard spices instead of powders (not very clear, but I’m not that good at spices). The palate is rather rich and apple-y.
Gentle and young again, but still rather rich and long. I get some balsamic vinegar now with dark cherries and bay leaf. Lots and lots of bay leaf. Slightly charcoal-like, which probably is the wood smoke.
As said I can be a bit careful approaching craft whiskies, especially when very young. This one doesn’t need that carefulness. It’s a lovely dram that certainly is different to anything I’ve tried. The wood smoke effect is nice and definitely different from Balcones’ Texas Shrub oak smoke.
Going back to the palate, the bay leaf becomes more prominent and reminds me a bit of licorice with bay leaf which you can get here. Thanks to Anneke for that note.
While I got this sample recently in a trade, I also bought a bottle of this whiskey some years ago but I haven’t opened it, being slightly afraid it might not be all that. Now I know different. This is interesting, it’s lovely and I really enjoyed it. Cool!
Wasmund’s Copper Fox Rye Whiskey, 45%, bottled on March 15th, 2012. Available from The Whisky Exchange for £ 46 / € 57.50