A lean, dry as dust whiskey not without its charms. Not your average young bourbon.
Notes: Honeoye Falls Distillery is one of the newer distilleries in the Rochester and Finger Lakes area, having just celebrated their one year anniversary on August 13th of 2016. Located about 30 minutes south of Rochester it is nestled in the hill and drumlins of the Finger Lakes area and draws its water from the nearby Finger Lakes of Canadice and Hemlock Lakes ( both of whom are water supplies also for the city of Rochester and known for the taste and purity of their water. They use a second generation ( as I call it , as significant improvements have been made over the first models) Artisan Still Works stainless steel steam fired still with a column and copper inserts. This is their small batch bourbon made from almost wha could be called hyper local grain ( some is grown right next door to the distillery building . The mashbilll is 51% corn, 34% rye and 15% 6 row malted barley. The whiskey was aged for a minimum of 3 months and comes from 5 gallon new American oak barrels. This is a very small batch of whiskey that was blended and bottled so if you want some you better grab it now.
They also produce a vodka called Frozen Falls Vodka, a gin called Devils Bathtub Gin, an unaged rye spirit called Lantern Light Rye Moonshine and an aged rye by the name of Red Saw Rye and this an extremely limited release Bourbon. Rumor has it they have an Absinthe in the works and they are also working on the Zamir Vodka made for and under the supervision of Zamir Gotta and Comrades.
Appearance: Clear pale yellow gold like a very light tobacco leaf color.On swirling it leaves a nicely oily coating on the glass with a very definite edge lines and large luscious oily droplets forming at regular intervals
First Impression: Very grain forward at first whiff with the corn taking the forefront but with a large dose of sweet sour from the rye and sweetness from the relatively large dose of barley malt gives art a lovely just walked into a granary type smell with a well balanced nose that is not overly spiritous.
After a bit is starts a striptease losing the grain and revealing a much more oak and char characteristic that is drier, with touches of grain fattiness with vanilla , pear, violet, and apple notes
Taste: Slightly sweet then rapidly woody entry with an intense wood, charcoal, and somewhat fatty grain flavor that knocks some of the rough edges off.
Think of it as a younger much drier Jack Daniels. Finish is more charcoal/carbon like with a drain finish that reminds me of a nicely done steak done over real charcoal.
Drinks: Makes a good Manhattan and is charmingly dry. Not so much for an Old Fashioned unless you like a dry one with a slightly caramelized flavor. Works well i drinks calling for a rye or drier spirit, (such as a scotch) with a interesting and intense char to it.
Bottle: Clear glass 375 ML bottle that is vaguely apothecary like in nature BUT not the usual bell shaped bottle, with a slightly concave bottom rounded shoulders and a wider lip to the collar both fits the hand and is easy to pick up.The label is distinctive and easy to see at a distance or in poor light and graphics are high quality.This bottle is distinguished from its sister bottle ( of the Red Saw Rye Whiskey which has a cream colored field and capital letters with red and the rest of the letters in black) by having a black field with red outlined white capital letters and the rest of the letters in red Also the description “Bourbon Whiskey underneath the Red Saw is white rather than the red letters describing the Rye Whiskey on its bottle. Bottle is topped by an attractive wooden top and a cream/tan synthetic cork to finish a distinctive and nice looking bottle that sits nicely on a shelf and is easy to spot.
Other: The intensity of the aging profile is a bit over the top but worthwhile to try. One of the few drinkable whiskey from barrels this size.
Final Thoughts: Unlike a number of other very small barrel bourbons I have tried they pulled this one in time to be intense but not entirely overdone. Some, well most, I have tried were liking trying to drink activated charcoal or worse. This one, while intense, is not so over done and is a worthy exemplar of small barrel aging of a well distilled product. It is a curiosity rather whiskey I would have on a regular basis but well worth a try and revisiting it from time to time, and as a sample of a unique whiskey.
A well laid out and fast loading site with easy navigation and a fair amount of information. It needs updating in a few places but is a well done site overall if a bit minimal compared to some