Review: Redwood Empire American Whiskey

Graton Distillery Company, the Sonoma, California-based company behind D. George Benham’s Sonoma Dry Gin, has launched its first whiskey. Redwood Empire is a “proprietary blend of house-distilled and Port barrel-rested rye whiskeys [that] includes mature stocks of four, five and eleven-year-old bourbon aged in classic, high-toast American oak casks.”

Functionally, this is a blend of microdistilled rye plus sourced bourbon and sourced rye, both from parts unknown.

The results are, well, a clear combination of both types of whiskey. The nose is at first quite grainy and wood-forward, though time exposed to air helps to mellow things out. Ultimately some of those rye-driven pepper notes and a touch of coconut come to the fore, given enough time. On the palate, youthful expressiveness drives the show forward. Notes of corn husk, maple syrup, and fresh cherries give way to a core that’s ample with wood, strawberry, and brown sugar. Baking spices dance on the finish, though it remains a bit brash. However, again, this too benefits greatly from aeration — and patience.

90 proof. Reviewed: Batch #01.

B / $40 / gratondistilling.com

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