When 10th Street Distillery invited me to taste through its lineups, I figured I wouldn’t be seeing much in the way of new expressions. We’ve reviewed two of the three whiskeys the company has put out to date, leaving just a “distiller’s cut” version of its peated expression untasted. Imagine my surprise when a whopping seven different expressions, most seasonal or limited editions (or not yet released), arrived for the live tasting event, which was hosted by founders Virag Saksena and Vishal Gauri from their San Jose, California home base.
Let’s give them all a whirl, including a fresh look at the two mainline releases. Brief tasting notes follow.
10th Street Single Malt STR – Smells like a Speyside single malt, hitting the nose and the palate with a brightness I didn’t get the first time around. (This is a NAS release and newer bottlings are slowly getting older; now it’s about 2 years old.) Quite fruity and immersive, its cereal elements well integrated into a whole. Lots of apple and some lemon notes linger on the finish. I catch that sesame element again, too. 92 proof. A-
10th Street Single Malt Peated – Smoky on the nose, with a character akin to barbecue smoke. It’s rather floral, a bit honeyed, and overall quite pretty, but laced throughout with an ample, peaty punch that melds well with the fruity undertones of the distillate. 92 proof. B+ [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]
10th Street Single Malt Peated Distiller’s Cut – Curiously, this whiskey — inspired by Laphroaig, per Saksena — is lower in alcohol than the standard peated expression. Naturally it’s softer due to the lower abv, but it’s also a bit smokier, with a more sultry finish, slightly candied finish. More complex and more enveloping. 88 proof. A-
10th Street Single Malt Peated Cask Strength – The flipside of the Distiller’s Cut, bottled at 55% abv. Racier but still wholly approachable, with a cayenne note that interplays well with the peat. Otherwise it sticks close to the standard Peated formula. 110 proof. B+
10th Street Single Malt Peated Finished in Wine Casks – Finished in a (single) pinot noir cask. It’s a lovely pink shade, evoking thoughts of light fruit notes, but there’s a lot more tannin here than I was expecting, giving the finish a hefty, quite burly character that feels at odds with the otherwise typical softness of the house style. Rather gritty on the back end. 100 proof. B
10th Street Single Malt Peated Finished in Port Casks – This was a holiday release last year, finished in a California Port cask, that will hopefully be returning soon. Much more elegant on the nose, with a clear sweet wine aroma. The nose leads into an initially sweet but somewhat doughy palate, the finish taking on quite a surprising biscuity, mushroomy note. 90.4 proof. B+
10th Street Single Malt Peated Single Barrel No. 66 – Definitely hot, though showing perhaps less booziness than you’d expect at this abv. Smoke and sweetness interplay nicely here, with an almond and chocolate note lingering on the back end. Water helps mellow everything out. 123.8 proof. B+