Bourbon is one of the rising stars of the whiskey world and the Alberta market is no exception. Bourbon as a category has exploded with shelf offerings going from a handful of well known names to dozens of smaller craft distilleries.
I have in the past touched on the odd Bourbon like Blog #14 where I reviewed the Hancock Reserve. Since that blog over a year ago where the selection in the US was massive by comparison, we can now find whiskies like the Hancock available in Alberta.
As Stampede fever once again grips Calgary I felt the need to reach for smooth sweet bourbany goodness. This time around I am teasing you all a little as this whiskey will not be available in Alberta until next year.
Whistling Andy is a small distillery in Big Fork Montana. My wife and I had the pleasure of visiting the distillery years ago when they were just starting to age their whiskey. It was a fabulous trip and the hospitality put on my Mike, Dana, Lisa and Brian was outstanding. If you are planning a trip down across the border then you owe it to yourself to stop in and try everything. A warning though… their fabulous Cocktail bar will test your mettle if you try to get through them all. A great little drinking hole called the Raven is close by on the lake and boasts some fantastic local craft beer on tap and a delicious menu to pair with.
Cindy and I had a really good time in Big Fork and plan to go back on our next driving trip South.
It has been a long time coming for the release of the Whistling Andy Bourbon and when it happened it was the first ever by a Montana distillery.
So let’s delve into the whiskey shall we….
Whistling Andy hand crafted Straight Bourbon Whiskey distilled from 100% Montana grown grain. Aged in American white oak barrels with a mashbill that combines sweet Montana corn with barley, wheat and rye. Batch Number 7. Bottled at 40% ABV.
Tasted in a Samaroli Spiegelau Whisky Glass. This unique glass was custom made for the Samaroli Independent bottling company by Spiegelau and is designed to enhance the delicate and elegant side of whisky. While not especially designed for Bourbon I thought it might be an interesting glass to use on this occasion.
Colour: Light polished copper
Nose: Cherry ripe chocolate bar, cinnamon sticks, Crunchie – (Aussie honeycomb chocolate bar) – might be what would be created with a Cherry Ripe, Crunchie combo 🙂 There is a lot going on here and the combo of wheat, rye, barley and 60% corn have done a great job in layering complexity with underlying honey sweetness – A big bowl of Honey Smacks (honey coated puffed wheat cereal available in Australia. The Samaroli glass is very easy on the nose with the wider rim and makes it fun to delve right in there. I came back around to the nose after tasting and was rewarded with custard tart which was one of my favorite small bakery treats growing up. Creamy custard in a sweet pie shell dusted with cinnamon.
Palate: Light and easy mouthfeel with definite honeycomb and vanilla fudge opening to salted caramel. The heavier rye and barley notes join in on the mid palate with a hint of cherry tart and just a wisp of sweet pipe tobacco. For a younger whiskey this already has a ton of complexity to enjoy. I can only imaging how interesting this will be with more time in cask.
Finish: Decent length on the finish with a little more of the rye peeking in with flourishes of sweeter spices. I think that this will lengthen as their stocks spend more time aging.
Great start for Whistling Andy and a really interesting mash bill combination. The nose for me is the standout and I could spend a lot of time hovering the old schnoz in this glass.
Would love to see a 46% or better yet a cask strength version that I could play with.
If you are on the hunt for small batch craft distilled Bourbon then hold onto your white hats. This little whiskey will be visiting a store near you in 2016.