A Malt white whiskey – not a corn one.
Notes: Colin Keegan of England decided to come to New Mexico and was bitten by the distilling bug. Rather than go with the more standard unaged bourbon style recipe that many use for their white dog whiskeys, he decided to go with a more Scots/Irish malt type whiskey they decided to try their hand at the white dog/unaged whiskey category. This is refreshing in some ways as, like a few other discerning makers of white dog, they rightfully decided to tailor their product as a white dog rather than just use the same stuff you would age. Distillate that will age well has a different composition than the kind you would chose to drink now and they took the time and trouble to tailor a drink now whiskey – unlike some of the more commercial producers who are simply bottling the stuff that should be barreled.
Working with the Santa Fe Brewing Company to provide their basic ingredients, Santa Fe Spirits uses the brewing company’s un-hopped beer mash, along with a secret grain recipe and whiskey yeast to create their signature taste. They use a 1000 liter Christian Karl copper pot/column still in their production for those who are interested in such things.
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 then small droplets forming at the edgeline.
First Impression: A good dose of malt at first, then followed by some seriously funky banana like esters which thankfully settled down after a bit. Some nice fruity notes developing afterwards. The esters pulled a bit of a disappearing act after – it may have just been something from shipping shock.
Taste: Nicely grainy and fruity start, with a a fair amount of sweetness , but then a odd burn on both sides of my tongue around the middle of the tongue – I can almost feel it trying to curl. Finish is medium ( read long for a white dog type whiskey), quite smooth with a warming glow. Decent malty grain notes with slight sweetness and touches of fruit.
Drinks: There is a dearth of drinks recipes for new make or white dog whiskey. They do however offer some good proprietary cocktails.
Cigars: Something a bit heavier like a Opus XX or a maduro to take some of the edges off the whiskey.
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 paper seal is striking , 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: While I really can’t recommend it as a sipping whiskey, it plays well with other ingredients in their cocktails.
Web site: http://www.santafespirits.com