This limited release from Washington-based Woodinville starts with its five-year-old straight bourbon, then throws a twist at it: six months of finishing in Tawny Port barrels.
The result is the essence of craft whiskey — burly wood, heavy spice — is here, particularly on the aggressive nose, which hints at a plum-dusted, raisiny note beneath the attack of lumber. The palate kicks things off with more lumberyard, a toasty sawdust note that would be fully at home in any young craft whiskey, but which is soon supplanted by a burst of sweeter, fruitier notes. Thanks to that port cask finishing, the bourbon explodes with notes of rum raisin, tart cherries, and some cola notes. Exotic and spicy at times, there’s a reprise of wood on the back end, though the finish dusts the experience with cloves and a bit of tea leaf. While it feels hotter than its 90 proof would indicate, this is a smartly-crafted whiskey that uses a clever finish to temper the rawness of the base spirit, giving it a more rounded, exciting future.
Availability is limited to the Woodinville tasting room and a few regional retailers, but you can also find it online from at least one seller.