From Georgetown Trading Company (the importer of the masterful John L. Sullivan Irish Whiskey), comes this extreme oddity — a flavored/infused rye whiskey.
Flavored whiskeys are growing in popularity as a category, but they’re mainly Bourbon or Irish, and honey and cinnamon are the predominant flavoring agents. Pow-Wow Botanical Rye is a straight rye whiskey that’s infused with saffron, orange peel, and other whole botanicals (not oils or other flavoring agents), which makes it doubly unique in the world o’ whiskey. (The specific mashbill is not specified, nor is the barrel aging program; the whiskey is warehoused in Kentucky.)
Reportedly inspired by a Colonial-era whiskey recipe, it’s as unique a dram as you’ll find on the market. And I mean that in a good way.
The nose is instantly exotic. Cedar planks, imbued with incense. Take a sip and you get a mouthful of sultriness — raisins, pomander oranges, vanilla, dark chocolate, plum pudding, and fresh tobacco. That saffron is the primary infusion ingredient here is a shock. Saffron in spirits is normally an overpowering and funky flavor. Here it not only works perfectly, it’s difficult to really process as saffron. (Mainly, I presume, because it’s part of a melange of botanicals.) The finish is epically long, brooding, and exotic. The constituent flavors of the palate come back around again and again. It almost never quits.
My only complaint is that Pow-Wow is a touch thin on the body. You don’t get the big mouthfeel of a good rye here (even though this one’s a solid 90 proof), which ultimately makes the spirit feel less substantial than it is.
It’s designed for cocktails, but try it straight… and let me know what you think about this oddball masterwork.