Michigan-based New Holland Artisan Spirits distills this 100% malt whiskey twice before aging in American oak barrels for a minimum of three years and bottling at 90 proof.
The results are, well, like really young malt whiskey. Getting great results from 100% malt, as the Scots know, takes time. Zeppelin Bend is a little rough around the edges, big with incense and clove character with a Bourbon-like vanilla backbone. Some cake frosting character in there too, if you breathe deep.
There’s lots of grain in the mix, though. The nose is heavily fueled by vanilla — once you get past some up-front heat — but the body brings on the granary after the sweetness fades. The mouthfeel is great, and the exotic Eastern spice notes are refreshing and fun, but the overall youth of this whiskey ultimately shows with a burliness and a lack of focus that’s difficult to explain. It is fun to drink and it invites discussion, but said discussion typically runs back to how much this whiskey exhibits young Bourbon character over Scotch.
At $70 a bottle, it’s a tough sell for a conversation piece. Would drink again, if you’re buying. But would like to see this with a few more years under its belt.
The name, by the way, is not specifically about airships but rather involves a certain type of knot in the ropes used to moor them.