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Last Shot Distillers Special Reserve Edition 2023/2024 Release

  • Rating: 9
  • Value: 9
Type: ,
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Proof: 101 (50.5 %)
Age: 17 Months in a 10 gallon barrel
Price: $110 750 ML
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Some of the best whiskey to come out of New York State so far.

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 five years old at present, it still has a very ambitious whiskey program with stocks of Rye, Bourbon, and even this whiskey, the Distillers Special Reserve. This is one of his newest releases and uses a fairly unique blend of corn, triticale, wheat, and malt, resulting in something akin to a kinder, gentler rye with more punch and drier than bourbon but not scaring people off as some rye whiskeys can.

This whiskey was placed in 10-gallon and 15-gallon whiskey barrels and aged for 17 months in the thick stone wall basement of his distillery in upstate New York—a very slow aging dynamic there compared to most places, which allows almost unheard-of aging times for smaller barrels. Last Shot has now moved up to 53-gallon barrels for all their whiskies.

This was also the whiskey recipe that Mr Uyehara won the title of “Master Distiller” on the TV series of the same name on Discovery Channel back in 2021 . The IMDB link is here 
This whiskey has been given the additional benefit of this extended barrel aging compared to the original award winner. It is sold only at the distillery itself and is extremely limited both in the number of bottles originally created and the rapidly dwindling supply on hand at the distillery. Bottled at a cask strength of 101 proof it has been allowed to mature at a slightly lower entry proof and not diluted, chill filtered, or otherwise touched from barrel to bottle.

Also, as a sidebar, the next release will be from 30-gallon barrels and there is no set timetable for when it will be released.

Their current lineup 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 named after a famous class/type sailboat that was made on the property.

A further lineup of new releases utilizes 100% New York cream with some of their white spirits and includes the Chocolate Creme Brulee and Orange Creamsicle liqueurs, which are also delicious and reflect both the Master Distiller’s palate and his unrelenting seeking of excellence.

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, the newest version ( so far)  is Last Shot Bourbon Batch 14 –  a 2 Year -old bourbon whiskey aged in a new charred oak 30-gallon barrels. There is now a three-year-old bourbon in 53-gallon barrels, but we have not tried it yet. Other bourbon and whiskeys are now nearing 4 years of maturation and will be released when they are judged to be at their peak.

This started as a white whiskey like his bourbons, but in this case, the Distillers Reserve was put in his American oak barrels that his bourbon came out of. This is to give the Distillers Reserve less of a wood infusion as it is a delicate and subtle sort of grain while also giving it a slight bourbon whiskey influence. Barrel-proof and unfiltered, it uses triticale, wheat, corn, and wheated malt as the base. Now that the whiskey stocks have been aged and bottled, it is now available after a lot of planning and a long wait. Chris is very careful to barrel when it is at its peak and not stick to a particular age just for bragging rights or public perception. Made in small stills, they concentrate on small batches and quality.

Appearance: Clear light amber gold in appearance. Leaves a medium thick oily coating on the glass when swirled with an oily meniscus, folding back ever so slowly and throwing a few legs down, then dissolving into a constellation of large tears. One of the most complex and enthralling displays I have seen in a long time!

First Impression: Grain, like walking into a granary when they are filling a silo, spice, vanilla, and whispers of mint, heather, grass, and barrel char, with touches of corn sweetness, barley malt, and triticale spice.

Taste: Mellow, almost honeyed entrance with a thick full mouthfeel of grain and honey, notes of sweet barley and heather, slightly spicy with tinges of nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, and some charcoal/barrel char notes to balance out the natural sweet and spicy notes. In short, delicious. Very much in the style of a Japanese whiskey and a bit like a good Speyside

Drinks: It works well across the spectrum of whiskey cocktails, and at a barrel proof of 101, it will not fade, unlike a lot of other depressingly lower-proof whiskies these days. It is fabulous in Old Fashioneds, Whiskey Sours, and Blood and Sand Cocktails alike! The Distillers Special Reserve  Whiskey is also lovely on its own in a decent glass and with a little water or ice to tease out the flavors and mellow it a touch.

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 gold wax neck capsule that has a thankfully contrasting pull ribbon and is easy to remove. The label is a dark Gold color. Other spirits have different colors for each type. making them easy to distinguish from each other at a glance.
Overall, this is a very attractive and easy-to-spot package on a store shelf, back bar, or home bar. Well done!

Other: It would be very interesting to see a peated 0r other sort of smoked version or this whiskey. We experimented with mixing it with smoked malts and cherry Eau de vies and the results were quite promising…

Final Thoughts: If I were to classify this in a flavor range/continuum, it would solidly fall in among a Speyside Scotch such as Macallan or a high-end pure malt Irish Whiskey such as Redbreast or some of the better Waterford series. That fact that it is this good at only 17 months makes me really anticipate older releases as they become available!

Website: http://www.lastshotdistillery.com

A nicely done website that is simple to navigate and easy to use. A bit spare, to be frank ( OK, maybe I go in for geeky details), but easy to get around and fast loading.

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