American Whiskey - House Spirits White Dog Barley Mash
House Spirits White Dog Barley Mash
House Spirits LLC, Portland, Oregon
Grain: Malted Barley
INGREDIENTS:100 % Malted Barley
PROOF: 100 (50 %)
AGE: Fresh from the Still
TYPE: American White Whiskey
PRICE: $30. 750 ML
Notes: Trust the crew from House Spirits (in the land of the serious foodies ) to come up with something completely different. Not content to rest on their laurels with their lovely and iconoclastic Aviation Gin, Medeyoff Vodka or Krogstad Aquavit , they decided to try their hand at the white dog/unaged whiskey category.
Instead of imitating many others and make a corn or bourbon type whiskey and went with 100 % Malted Barley using Scottish and Irish ale yeasts with a 3-4 day fermentation then distillation of low wines then high wine in a small copper pot still (a real pot still not a hybrid with columns and bubble plates - just lots of copper) and handcrafting each batch with careful attention to cuts and maximizing flavors. One of the challenges with a white whiskey is that it is essentially naked with nothing to hide behind - wood aging can hid a multitude of sins or defects - that is a luxury you do not have here- the small scale production and attention to detail show you what is possible if you have the skills and dedication.
Appearance: Very thin edge line on the glass when you swirl it, smooth layer of whiskey on swirling, with some scalloping starting fairly quickly along the edgeline, with legs small droplets then forming at the edgeline.
First Impression: A very nice malted barley whiskey, very much alive and full of lots of spicy,fruity and sweet flavors with a quite a bit of aromatics and tastes that are brought about by using brewers ale yeasts rather than a more standardized ( and more whitebread in terms of results) distillers yeast.
Taste: Nicely grainy and fruity start, with a nice but balanced sort of sweetness. Finish is medium (read long for a white dog type whiskey), quite smooth with a warming glow. lovely malty notes with slight sweetness and touches of barley mash. This is particularly difficult as this is a young, naked whiskey, it can't hide behind wood aging.
Drinks: There is a dearth of drinks recipes for new make or white dog whiskey. Think vodka color, Old Tom Gin in graininess with no juniper. Closest we can come to is a Genever (Jenever) or Roogenaar (similar to Genever) not that any of these comparisons is more helpful unless you are a Genever/Jenever aficionado.
House Spirits White Dog does make for a nice variation of a Tom Collins, Manhattan or a sour - we especially liked a Pisco Sour swapping out the Pisco for White Dog we call this variation The Pit Bull.
Also it can work in in some gin drinks also such as a Ramos Gin Fizz (we call it a Carlos Gin Fizz to differentiate it) .We also found the this white whiskey worked well paired with red meat, game, (especially venison) or cold smoked fish.
Cigars: Something mild but complex so as not to lose the nuances. A Fuente Work of Art or Short Story, Rocky Patel or possibly a Ashton.
Bottle: Apothecary style with very clear and bright clear glass with heavy weighted decanter type bottom. Apothecary look is further enhanced by the Industrial and hand typed look/graphics of the label. Silver wax seal is striking , but more importantly the wax is fairly soft so you don't need to use sharp objects to chisel it away - unlike some products that come to mind, Slightly larger mouth/top to neck make for easy pouring and the composite cork closure is thoughtful -what it lacks in character it makes up for in sealing.
Altogether a handsome and striking package for a excellent whiskey.
Final Thoughts: A very spicy, sprightly, fruity, and overall charming white whiskey. Price is good given quality and proof.
Web site: http://housespirits.com/
Good web site with easy navigation, cover all of their extensive whiskey collection and has links to the parent company (Sazerac) and their other offerings also.