An interesting and dangerously easy to drink young smoked whiskey.
Notes: This is a new American Whiskey, a bit of a hybrid in style. It does not fall into the category of bourbon as such, the barreling is unknown, and I am not sure about whether smoking malt is considered outside the technical definitions of what you can put in a mash bill for bourbon. So think of it as pretty much a young smoked malt version of a bourbon and you won’t be too far off in both taste and characterization or classification.
Iron Smoke Whiskey is contract distilled in a copper pot still in a distillery near Seneca Falls at the moment but plans are being put in place to open their own distillery sometime in the murky future. It is made from a mostly bourbon mash bill with a heavier than usual proportion of corn,wheat, rye, and the barley is smoked. So a very complex mash bill which lends a lot of potential nuance to the mix. They also store the charred new American Oak barrels in a climate controlled warehouse so the aging is steadier and has swings in temperature than a warehouse in Kentucky.
Appearance: Clear,very light straw yellow in the glass.On swirling it leaves a thin edge line with some thin legs forming
First Impression: Nice grainy smells with apple woodland malty notes. Corn sweetness, barley malt,apple smoke wheat and some interesting sweet/sour spice. That being said this is a bit of a young whiskey – you don’t get the usual bourbon like notes you expect, but it has a fair amount of charm tom the apple wood smoke.
Taste: Interesting corn sweetness with the apple wrapping around the grains and enhancing their charm.Starts a touch sweet with a barley maltiness trying to get a hold, then falls off a bit fast to a slightly drying finish/fade. Rather light in the wood department, with oak char but not the accompanying vanilla and sweetness that comes from longer aging, barrel respiration and gradual longer term aging. Leaves it in a more shall we say Pioneer or Bootleg period flavor profile rather than a more polished more sedate and plush type of profile with a good amount of oak char and initial aging characteristics but not the longer term aging characteristics many would look for. More of a heavy charcoal effect (think Jack Daniels) than a sweetening and mellowing leaving a bit raw spirit with charcoal but the apple wood gives you a lingering carnivore association of smoked meat crust and the slightly fatty traces from the grain enhance this. Young, brash, and a bit edgy
Drinks: Pretty much can use it in any standard whiskey cocktail you can think of, bourbon, scotch or rye. A bit lighter than all of them but a good gateway whiskey to get your fear of flavor friends down the path
Bottle: Clear glass,apothecary bell shaped bottle with somewhat heavy decanter bottom. Label is a one piece wraparound with parchment type coloration and aging coloration with antique style graphics and the iconic pipe smoking “Skully’.Batch number and bottling date are noted by hand on the label..Package is finished with a paper seal atop a natural cork and wood top so the bottle gives you that lovely opening the whiskey bottle sound that many of us have long developed a Pavlovian response to.
Other: Extensive clothing and accessory line all emblazoned with “Skully” is available on their website.
Final Thoughts: A solid first effort and an interesting young whiskey. Smooth if not overly complex and interestingly rustic. Roguish charm trumps complexity in this whiskey.
Fairly straightforward and easy to navigate website with not a lot of material or a great deal of information. Bare bones but to the point if a bit vague for enthusiasts of detail.