Review: Mad River Hopscotch Vermont Single Malt Whiskey

Warren, Vermont-based Mad River Distillers makes some interesting rum products that we’ve previously reviewed, but it has recently stepped into whiskey, including rye and bourbon. Today we look at Hopscotch, Mad River’s single malt, a collaboration between Mad River Distillers and the creator of Lawson’s Finest Liquids, which provides the heavily hopped beer from which this whiskey is distilled. Aside from this, production details are not disclosed.

The whiskey is hoppy, but less than you’d think on the nose, at least. Here, aromas of spicy nutmeg, roasting meat, and bacon all interplay with a dusky, tarry note that lingers behind.

The palate brings on the hops, hard and heavy: An immediate pungency, earthy and mushroomy leads the way to that intensely funky-floral hops character, bold and bitter, with a chunky tobacco flavor to it. There’s fruit here, along with a heavy lumberyard element, which gives it a certain youthfulness. Though sometimes nutty — almost like an amontillado sherry — the whiskey doesn’t pull any punches, finishing with power, at the expense of elegance and nuance.

All told, this is a solid expression of a heavily-hopped, beer-based whiskey, though it doesn’t do much to rewrite the script.

92 proof. Reviewed: Batch #3.

B / $60 /

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