The craft distilling industry is succeeding on a few levels. The most important of which is innovation, ever rare in the crowded marketplace. Non-traditional grains, unorthodox finishing, old school comebacks (plain corn whiskies) and micro-barreling, to name a few, have seen success on the whiskey shelf.
Things get interesting when a new innovation is added to tradition. In today’s case, Washington State’s Woodinville Whiskey Company married America’s traditional spirit, Bourbon, with micro-barreling, and bottled Woodinville Bourbon. We’ve covered this new-ish practice when we reviewed Woodinville Rye, but to catch you up, micro-barreling uses small, 6-8 gallon or more barrels to house and age spirit (American whiskies are traditionally aged in 200L barrels). The reason why is because the spirit interacts with the barrel three times as much versus traditional aging. When you don’t have 6-7 years to age something, micro-barreling makes sense.
But whiskey making is never that easy. Getting a micro-barreled whiskey to work is a delicate business. The spirit can become over oaked and un-balanced. Harsh, new make spirit needs time in the barrel to mellow out, among other things. Esters, the flavor compounds formed during fermentation, continue to form in the barrel, adding even more complexity to the spirit. Let’s see what the club thinks…
SWC Group Review
Nose –At first, citrus and peppermint spice. Hard toffee candy. Heavy, sweet grain reminiscent of cornbread. Concentrated oak blast is obvious, but soft vanilla and honey begin to emerge with time.
Taste – Oaky, but some herbal, medicinal notes like ginger. Sweet, candied notes teased. Calm.
Finish – Medium to long, dry feel. Charred oak fills the mouth. Herbal waves with straw/hay. A bit like biting into a charred oak stave (bourbon fans like this, don’t worry).
Comment – Our first review of Woodinville’s Bourbon was not glowing. There was unbalance and a lack of maturity. Changes were made at Woodinville, call them tweaks, to improve the overall character. In our opinion, the nose improved and the finish improved dramatically. We teased out some nice subtleties we didn’t find before. This newer version still needs time and patience to appreciate fully. A good fifteen minutes will get you there.
SWC Rating – 82/100
Note- Woodinville Whiskey Co sent us a bottle of their bourbon from a recent batch. This was a randomly selected bottle from their production line.
Contact us at SpokaneWhiskey@gmail.com