Washington, DC’s One Eight Distilling has been bottling its own rye and bourbon under the District Made brand for a year or so now. But the Untitled series that started their foray into brown spirits hasn’t taken a back seat. While harder to find, the line continues to be a successful outlet for experimentation with different barrel finishes and blends of largely sourced whiskeys. We had a chance to sample both the 10th and 11th releases recently. Thoughts follow.
One Eight Distilling Untitled Whiskey No. 10 – This whiskey is a sourced 9-year-old high-rye bourbon that was rested in Cognac and Spanish brandy casks, blended, and then finished in barrels that once held One Eight’s own rye. The nose is an intoxicating balance of rich wine notes — dried red fruits, cherry, and prune — and more traditional rye bourbon with citrus-forward aromas of mulled cider and a faint cigar box note. On the palate, that same remarkable balance carries through. I went into this one expecting at least a little astringency from the Cognac and brandy casks, but I was hard pressed to find any. It’s surprisingly delicate. At first, there’s orange marmalade and clove, then raisin, black cherry, cinnamon, and pecan on the mid-palate becoming burnt caramel — and then a crescendo of gingery spice. The brighter fruit notes linger on a long and warming finish. At only 44% abv, I’m sure there was a temptation to give those flavors more volume at a higher abv. I’m glad One Eight chose not to because this one turned out beautifully. 88 proof. A / $100
One Eight Distilling Untitled Whiskey No. 11 – This whiskey is a blend of bourbons that range in age from 7 to 10 years and were finished in a variety of wine and spirit barrels: Cognac, Ruby Port, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, and Oloroso Sherry. There’s a clear sherry funk on the nose. It’s sweet and earthy with notes of red licorice, almond, mushroom, and cedar closet. The palate initially shows few signs of all that barrel finishing with typical caramel, a little orange peel, and some baking spice, but by the mid-palate more wine-forward elements arrive with notes of juicy raisin, black cherry, blueberry, and baking chocolate. The finish lingers with this cacophony of flavors and a distinct smoldering smokiness. It’s definitely a unique whiskey, but then again One Eight always meant for the Untitled series to push the envelope a little. And they’ve succeeded with this one. 100 proof. A- / $100