About as close to a perfect liquid chocolate creme brulee as it gets. Comfort food in a liquid alcohol form.
Notes: Last Shot Distillery is one of the newest distilleries in New York State ( producing, selling, and aging products not just setting up as many are). Run by Chris Uyehara and a very small team, Chris is a master chef and pastry chef and brings his art and attention to detail to all his products. Last Shot uses water from the local Finger Lake Skaneateles Lake, with minimal filtering ( just to remove any chlorine) to maintain a local character to the water and spirit, rather than use RO water which to me is completely boring and neutral filler for a spirit. While the distillery itself is barely three years old at present, they still have a very ambitious whiskey program with stocks or Rye, Bourbon, and even this whiskey the Distiller Reserve. This is one of his newest releases and uses a fairly unique blend of triticale, wheat, and malt resulting in something akin to a kinder gentler rye with more punch and drier than a bourbon but not scaring people off like some rye whiskeys can.
The Last Shot Bourbon is reviewed in the following links: the first release from 5 gallons at about 3 months, then three times as big at 15 gallons and aged for three as long at 12 months, Last Shot Bourbon Batch 14 – a 2 Year -old bourbon whiskey aged in a new charred oak 30-gallon barrels, and the newest version ( so far) is the 3-Year-Old 30-gallon barrel bourbon ( Batch # )
Chris is very careful to barrel when it is at its peak and not sticking to a particular age just for bragging rights or public perception. Made in small – about 100 gallon stills, they concentrate on small batch and quality.
Their current line up of white spirits includes a nicely flavorful vodka, a 100% corn unaged white whiskey, a dry white maple distillate, a sweet maple distillate, an unaged white whiskey called Lightning Whiskey using a bourbon mash bill and named after a famous class/type sailboat that was made on the property.
This started as a white whiskey like his bourbons, but in this case, and then put in his American oak barrels to age and mellow. He then mixes the whiskey with a shelf-stable cream ( shelf life is measure in years not days or weeks), and a few carefully chosen natural flavors to make it a chocolate creme brulee. As a pastry chef Chris is very critical and careful about getting the flavor right and not just grabbing a tin of chemicals to make some candy equivalent flavor.
Appearance: Milky brown like a light chocolate milk, very smooth with no clumps, clots, floaters, or all the other possible issues with flavoring, especially with cream. Cream liqueurs are easily some of the most difficult things to produce in the beverage trade.
First Impression: Predominantly chocolate liqueur smell with the alcohol mixing with the sweet cocoa and hints of citrus, almonds/nutsMadagascar vanilla, turbinado sugar/molasses lurking in the background to give it a nice complexity yet very tightly fused together into a harmonious whole.
Taste:Delicious and smooth. Creamy but not overly heavy entry, almost silky
Drinks: Anything calling for a cream liqueur. Toasted Almond, milkshake, hot or cold coffee or chocolate.Just lovely on its own too!
Bottle: Quite similar to the other Whiskey packages/products they produce and only differing in minor details ( such as the type of spirit of course) Well done and distinctive label with high production/quality values – unlike most. Clear glass apothecary type bottle with nicely weighty decanter type bottom and a good grade of glass and a black topped ridged stopper – which is particularly convenient as it affords a good grip for easy opening. Composite cork guarantees a good seal and no loss or leakage. Sealed with a black neckwear/capsule that has a thankfully contrasting pull ribbon and is easy to remove. The label is subdued pollen yellow in color. Other spirits have different colors for each type. making them easy to distinguish from each other at a glance.
Overall a very attractive and easy to spot package on a store shelf, back bar, or home bar. Well done!
Other: I am not generally a fan of cream liqueurs (note there is a difference between a liqueur, a cream liqueur, and a creme liqueur by the way)my usual opinion is someone mixes some rotgut, chemicals, and something resembling a diary product together to make a bottle of something cheap for the underaged. This liqueur however actually tastes like a well-executed chocolate creme brullee in liquid form.
Final Thoughts: Very impressive and delicious effort which shows the distiller and pastry chefs striving for quality. Highly Recommend!
Website: Last Shot Distillery.com