Palm Ridge Reserve, 45%

Florida Farm Distillers is a small distillery in Umatilla, Florida. They’ve been distilling their own whiskey for a couple of years now.

They’re not overly forthcoming with information and only talk about ‘making’ the whiskey on their site, not about distilling it. By some pictures under the photos tab I assume they distill it since they do own a still. Although, making 500 barrels of whiskey in such a tiny still might be challenging.

It is mentioned they mature their whiskey in small casks, so that might explain the still vs production size. Anyway, I don’t have any reason to not trust them other than there are a lot of clown out there who tell you one thing but mean another, as we’ve seen somewhat recently with Templeton Rye.

Their Palm Ridge Reserve whiskey is their core product and they mature it in small casks with orange and oak wood shavings. I haven’t had a whiskey with orange shavings before, so that’s interesting. Of course Jim Murray thinks they’re one of the best things since sliced bread and rated this stuff at 94.5 points. But we all know what to do with his scores, right?

It’s very young (less than one year old, actually) and spirity. Quite unrefined and raw. A lot of alcohol on the nose with sharp oak scents. A bit oily with citrus, like the fatty feeling you sometimes get from an orange skin. A lot of sweet citrus and a lot of spicy rye. Some peppermint.

The palate is still quite sharp, mostly from not being in oak for a long time. Lots of orange here. Sweet and bitter with some oak too. Oily, corn syrup, rye spices. Thick and syrupy and almost liqueur like after a while. But with a lot of alcohol.

The finish mellows quickly but it’s sweet with hints of caramel. Orange syrup, thick and oily and quite long.

Since you’re probably reading this for an honest opinion, let’s get it out. It’s an interesting dram, but it’s never very good. It doesn’t convince me that orange shavings is the way to go for a whiskey, although it’s not as bad as to avoid it either.

There’s quite a bit going on and even though it’s unrefined and raw (a bit like FEW’s bourbon and rye, although that was a lot better) it does show some depth. I’m quite curious to know where this is going if you leave it in oak for a few more years, or even half a year or so.

The orange actually works nice with the spices. It’s bringing that oily feel and orangy flavor that works nicely with the spices from the, I think, high rye mash. So, interesting.

Palm Ridge Reserve, batch DSPFL 15011, 45%. Less than one year old and $ 54 at Broudys

Thanks to RL for the sample!


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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