The first part is made from barley that is malted in the Pacific Northwest, and unmalted barley grown in the Willamette valley of Oregon. This barley is ground, mashed, fermented and distilled on location at the distillery in Sheridan, Oregon. The second part is made by using a base of Kentucky corn whitedog, which we obsessively re-distill in an alembic pot still. Extremely selective cuts are made at the condenser, and only the “heart of the hearts” is kept for aging and bottling. The remainder is discarded.
Aging takes place in a variety of barrels, including used French coopered pinot noir barrels, new American coopered whiskey barrels, and used American whiskey barrels. The whippersnapper is aged for between six months and two years, with an average time of about one year. For each bottling, eight barrels are specifically selected to make the best possible blend. Whippersnapper is then hand bottled, hand labeled, and hand waxed. Meticulous attention is paid to achieving perfection both in the bottle and out.
That’s a fancy way of talking about a very young whiskey, and youth is the first thing that comes to mind when tasting this spirit. It is heavy on the nose with barley character, and the overall impression is one of a very young Scotch vs. newmake Bourbon. Grainy, grassy, with touches of slate.
On the palate, not much to write home about. Very grain-forward, with a big malty character. Not bad, honestly, but the youth here pushes nuance out of the picture. The finish hints at butterscotch and creme brulee, but this is frustrating, a tantalizing look at what this whiskey might become with a few more years of age on it, instead of brooding and sulking like a teenager that’s still trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life.