A lovely, full on malted grain whiskey reminiscent of Japanese and Irish Whiskies and also of fine Vieux system Genever .
Winner of Master Distiller “World War of Whiskey” and Chris was named Master Distiller for this one.
Notes: This whiskey was the winner in the Master Distillers TV Series episode “World War of Whiskey” in which the distiller Chris Uyehara was named Master Distiller. 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, they still have a very ambitious whiskey program with stocks of classic Rye and Bourbon, and what some people would classify as a more experimental Triticale Whiskey.
This Four Grain Whiskey is the latest release at Last Shot and the mash bill is malted wheat, malted corn, malted barley, and malted triticale making it an entirely Malted Whiskey, but not in the definition of Malt Whiskey ( which by law must be at of least 51% barley which this mash bill does not have) and is made in to be also a Japanese Whiskey style.
Appearance: Clear, beautiful Baltic amber gold, leaves a very even coat on the glass and forms legs and loads of droplets on the glass – more than I have ever seen in a whiskey!
First Impression: Very malty almost an old-style Genever malt with the rye and corn maltiness followed with the wheat malt and slight grassiness to it. Corn, warm barley rounded wheat have sweet grain malt notes with-sour notes with some sweetness, with wisps and touches of mint/grass, juniper, a touch of oak char, vanilla, spice is present here a lingering finish of smooth grain.
Taste: A very nice whiskey, especially for one so young. Charming soft oily entry with touches of multigrain from beginning to end. Complex but fresh with corn, rye, and barley notes and a dose of oak and char giving it vanilla, smoke, tobacco, and leather notes adding to the intrigue and giving it more depth and complexity
Drinks: Makes for an outstanding Manhattan and similar whiskey-based drinks. As it shares many of the characteristics of Japanese and Irish whiskies along with fine malt genevers, you will find it a very supple and multifaceted spirit that is begging for some inventive cocktail mixology. While some may find the body a bit young and a touch light around the edges there is a lot to work with here and its pleasant maltiness and slight sweetness make it a charmer. In an Old Fashioned and a Whiskey Sour, the nice aromatics blend well with the other ingredients and make for a slightly lighter
Bottle: Quite similar to the other Whiskey packages/products they produce and only differing in minor details ( such as the type of whiskey of course) Well done and distinctive label – unlike most. The label for the Four Grain Whiskey is black with copper red lettering. Other spirits have different colors for each type. making them easy to distinguish from each other at a glance. Clear glass apothecary type bottle with nicely weighty decanter type bottom and a good grade of glass and a blacktopped 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.
Overall a very attractive and easy-to-spot package on a store shelf, back bar, or home bar. Well done!
Cigars: Connecticut Shade wrapper and probably Corona or maybe a small torpedo. Nothing that would overwhelm the delicacy.
Final Thoughts: A touch assertive, but settling in well with a lovely bouquet and taste that will not disappoint. Frankly somewhat amazing you could coax out of a whiskey this young and the promise of a stunning whiskey in 2-4 years from now too. The thickness and coolness of the Last Shot Distillery aging cellar are closer to a Scottish Warehouse than a standard American rickhouse and a good bit slower than the old Michters ( Pennsylvania) warehouse. Chris will be able to tease out an excellent whiskey with the slow aging afforded in such a setup and we look forward to older versions of this whiskey as the years pass.
Other Products: 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. There has been a series of releases The Last Shot Bourbon – a 3-Year-old bourbon whiskey aged in a new charred oak 30-gallon barrels. Previous releases were the first release from 5 gallons at about 3 months, then three times as big at 15 gallons and aged for 12 months then the 2-year-old from 30-gallon barrels‘ and then the latest release which is 3 years old and comes from a 30-gallon barrel.
Made in small pot stills of various sizes, they concentrate on small batches and quality. Their current line up includes a nicely flavorful vodka, a 100% corn unaged white whiskey, a dry white maple distillate, a sweet maple distillate, a Chocolate Creme Brulee Bourbon Cream Liqueur, an Orange Creme Liqueur, a gin, and 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. The white whiskey was put in fresh new charred American oak barrels and now some stocks of this whiskey have been aged long enough to now qualify as bottled in bond bourbon
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. They also put a fair amount of information and cocktail recipes on both Facebook and Instagram.Well worth following!