The Whisky Exchange Show in London is a fantastic place to discover new whiskies. One of the treats from last year was meeting the Head Distiller from the Sonoma County Distilling Co. Not only was he a lovely chap, but they are producing some high quality craft whiskey. They are all about small, choosing to use alembic copper stills, to produce whisky slowly and in small batches from locally sourced ingredients.
During #RyeJanuary, a little known by very highly celebrated (At least by us) month, we got the chance to revisit one of their drams. This time the seasonal celebration demand Rye, so we chose the Cherry Wood. Drinking with friends at the Bristol Whisky club, we were reminded of the quality of the drams we had tasted before and two members went out and purchased other drams from the same company.
Price: £50 – 60 (You are paying a premium for both importing the whisky and the limited nature of the spirit)
Appearance: Like a fantastically well oiled cabinet, sitting in a barn.
Aroma: Wood polish, almond and sweet raisin.
Taste: Sweet and raisiny.
Here the middle is spicey, but really gently spiced. It’s gingery, warming and sweet. There are real similarities with a Jamaican Ginger Cake.
The finish is super short, initially almost unnoticeable. However as you drink the warmth builds, although it stays on the top of the palate. There is a sweet, orange note.
Mouthfeel: Light, Sweet and yet spicy and full flavoured.
Overall: This is a super interesting whiskey. Its makers describe it as being an “inventive spirit meant for those who seek out the flavors of a classic Manhattan cocktail in a distilled spirit”. Although this gives you a flavour of what was intended, it almost shallows the experience, because we found lots to be admired about this sweet, sticky wooden rye. This is a whisky to win over those whisky skeptical friends or to treat the American Whisky fanatic in your life to something new.
Real Dram Factor: 7.8
Source: Whisky Club Shared Purchase
More Information: Sonoma County Distillers Website