Changes.

Well it is common knowledge now, but after 8 years at Stranahan’s, I have chosen to strike out on my own.  Why?  Local reporter Sean Kenyon asked me the same question.

Why did Jake Norris leave Stranahan’s? Ask the bartender…

Jake Norris, head distiller and an original partner, left Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey last month. The brand was purchased late last year by Proximo Spirits, distributor of big brands like 1800 Tequila, Kraken Rum and Three Olives Vodka; after the sale, Norris said he planned to stay on…for a while.

Norris was one of the last original employees and the final Colorado connection to a brand that this state’s bartenders have loved since its inception. When I caught up with him a few days ago, here’s what he had to say about himself and the breakup:

Tell me a bit about your history before Stranahan’s: Before Stranahan’s I was one of those annoying people who knew way too much about an esoteric subject. I was more than a casual whiskey nerd. I designed my first still when I was about fifteen. I found a homesteading publication in my dad’s library and it had an article about how to convert an old truck to run on alcohol; it had another article on how to make the alcohol to fuel it. That idea really captured my imagination. I was an idealistic kid; I saw this as a way to save the world. No more pollution, no more oil, just burn excess grain and fruits. By the time reality set in and I realized that was not the way the world worked, at least I had some quality spirits to drown my sorrows. Just before Stranahan’s, I was doing independent whiskey educations for restaurants around Denver and working as the whiskey expert for the Celtic Tavern. I was so synonymous with whiskey around town that people started to call me “Jake Whiskey,” as if Whiskey were my last name. That is why my blog is Jakewhiskey.com.

Can you tell me about the genesis of Stranahan’s, how you got involved in the first place? Jess Graber (my former partner) had been a hobbyist for many years and a very competent distiller. He had always dreamed of opening a very small distillery and making a whiskey as a kind of working retirement. Jess could never really figure out how to make it work financially. George Stranahan was a neighbor of Jess’s in Woody Creek, and the majority owner of the Flying Dog Brewery. It occurred to Jess that he could make the distillery work financially if he could outsource the fermentation — which would cut start-up costs by about half. Jess could contract George’s brewery to ferment wash for his distillery.

Mike Freeman was the purchasing manager for the Flying Dog brewery and a good friend of mine for many years. I had been bugging Mike about ordering me a few bags of grain when he ordered barley for the brewery. Mike was alarmed at the amount of grain I wanted: “How much beer are you trying to make man?!”. I had to explain to him that I was not making beer… but rather whiskey. He was confused, so over PBR tallboys I explained how a brewery could produce a “wash” to make whiskey. Not long after that, Jess came in the brewery and was explaining to Mike about the arrangement he had worked out with George and how the FDB was going to make a custom distiller’s wash alongside their beers. Mike stopped him and said, “Hey, I know a guy that is already doing that, you need to meet my friend Jake Whiskey.” Mike introduced Jess to me, and the rest is history. We worked out the recipe, and a few months later, we were making whiskey. Jess and I meeting was one of those perfect storm moments.

What are some of your favorite memories in relation to creating Stranahan’s? It is hard to pick one. The whole thing was such a great experience. I fondly remember opening the first barrel. I had borrowed one of those Guinness countdown clocks from Chris at Falling Rock, and I had pasted a “Countdown to Barrel #1″ sign on the front. When the countdown timer hit zero, I was surrounded by friends standing over the barrel with a hammer and spike in hand. I had waited my whole life for that drink.

I think the best moments were smaller than that. I remember working really late one night in the original distillery on Blake Street. I was exhausted and the room was hot as hell, and I was feeling a little discouraged. As I sat there watching the still, the realization of what I was doing kind of sank in. I realized that I was a whiskey distiller. I was part of an ancient brotherhood reaching back through time. I could take all the same ingredients, grain, yeast, and water, and make a loaf of bread, but through this magic, I was making whiskey. I felt like an alchemist in the truest sense of the word. I was transforming a common staple like grain into something magical, something so precious and rare that it would be metered out by the drop. All of a sudden the hours and the heat didn’t bother me so much, and I realized I was where I needed to be.

What was the biggest key in building the brand? I think Stranahan’s was successful for a few reasons. First of all, it was damn good whiskey! Another factor was our relationships in Colorado. I had tended bar for ten years in Denver. When my friends in the service industry got wind that I was making whiskey, there was a spot cleared on the shelf, waiting for Stranahan’s. It was a great feeling to have that kind of support. I think another factor was that it was an original style of whiskey. We were not copying Kentucky or Scotland, we were making whiskey for Colorado. We chose to make a whiskey showcasing the Rocky Mountain terroir, and that had never been done before. We created the first original whiskey in America since Prohibition. It was real. It was honest. Whiskey lovers were ready for something new, but none of that would have mattered a damn bit if the whiskey was not so good.

What are you most proud of in relation to Stranahan’s? That is a hard one… I guess it is the loyalty that we got from our community. The support we received from chefs and bartenders and everyday people. Coloradans exhibited the same fanaticism about Stranahan’s that they reserve for the Broncos or the Rockies. I was proud to be a part of the home team. It says something when a hard-working, blue-collar guy chooses to walk into the distillery and plunk down sixty hard-earned bucks for a bottle of my whiskey. Gold medals and awards are great, but when a man busts his hump for his paycheck and is willing to pay three times as much for my whiskey, that means something to me.

How did you feel when Stranahan’s was sold? Wow. I was crushed. People know how much Stranahan’s meant to me, and I always get asked, “Why did YOU sell?” But It is much more complicated than that. I didn’t sell: It was sold. I was a partner in Stranahan’s, just not a big partner. I got a check out of the deal, but when it came time to vote, I only had so much say. The financial investors put a lot of money into that business, and as much as I wanted to believe that it was because they were altruistic whiskey nerds like me, in reality they were businessmen and they were obliged to watch out for their investment. Jess was the primary investor and he busted his ass his whole life to make what he had. I don’t blame Jess for his choice to sell. He has a family to look out for, and he deserves some hard-earned success.

I didn’t come into Stranahan’s with money. I brought hard work and passion and skill. I built that whiskey with my sweat and blood, and I got everything out of Stranahan’s that I put into it. My experience at Stranahan’s was one of a kind. My dad is an artist, and he busted his ass his whole life to support his family working in meat-packing plants and machining factories. I got to make a living doing what I love. I got to do exactly what I wanted to do with zero compromise. Most men will never get to experience that. I feel lucky, and I’m sure when I look back I will remember my time at Stranahan’s as some of the best years of my life.

People recognized my passion about Stranahan’s and associated me with the brand so heavily that I could not go to out for a drink without a barrage of questions about the whiskey. It got so bad I had to tell Amber at the Irish Rover not to tell people I made Stranahan’s just so I could finish a glass of whiskey before the ice melted — hahaha.

Why did you leave? I am not one to hang around and watch someone bridle a wild pony.

What are your plans for the future? Well, at the moment I am building an earthen bread oven with my dad in my parents’ back yard. I figure I will bake a loaf of bread with dad, help my mom can those peaches I brought from Palisade. Oh, business plans? Let’s just say that Stranahan’s is not my last rodeo. I have some projects actively in the works and I think I have a curveball or two left in me.

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The Solitude Snowflake

We are proud to announce the release of the latest in the Stranahan’s Snowflake series. The Solitude Snowflake. This whiskey was aged in new American white oak for 3.5 years and then transferred into a French White Oak barrel that housed a Colorado port for a period of 6 months, then transferred in to a Hungarian white oak barrel that has housed a Chardonnay from Sonoma California for 2.5 months.

Tasting notes:

Full strength Nose: The bouquet gives up milk chocolate, peach, floral notes, Colorado wild flower honey.

Palate: Big sweet, honey, floral, rose petals, orange zest/ overripe orange, Cognac, honey, spice, caramel, creamy, heat, Into pepper, spices, green fruit, leaf tobacco. Finish akin to strong black pepper or de-veined hot pepper. Honey, nice mouth feel, flavor lingers for a long time on palate

Dilute:

Nose: alcohol in bouquet eases up, honey and toast, rich dates, dark berries, fresh bread, wet barn wood

Palate: Honey, flowers, pie crust, butter, black tea, matures into almost tart, candied lemon peel? On roof of mouth, Cherry, date, hints of black pepper growing on soft palate, very creamy, sharper lemon peel, not unpleasant, Meyer lemon? Hot buttered rum with a Meyer lemon? Tannic complexity settles -in during finish, still strong cherry and date flavors, tobacco, smoked red apple, Lampong black pepper.

This whiskey challenges the palate as it seduces. Complex tannins interact with rich fruit notes and leaf tobacco. When I was a kid we, used to take halves of orange and stick them full of cloves and place them on the wood stove to infuse the winter air with spiced orange, Solitude reminds me of that. Lemon zest hides throughout poking head up every once in a while to balance the richness of the dates. The Solitude….give me a leather chair and leave me alone.

Listening to Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces of a man

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The We in I

I often write in the first person. I often talk in the first person. I will say something like “when I select the barrel…” or “I am proud to announce the release of ….”, but in reality it is not just me. I have a whole staff of dedicated and skilled people behind me that contribute to that barrel of whiskey. There was a time when it was just me and a copper still in a dingy warehouse on Blake street. Jessie would handle all the business end of things and I was left to focus on the whiskey. Times have changed, today Stranahan’s has 2 brewers, 4 distillers, a general manager, and a staff of tour guides and office workers that all pitch in to make this machine work. It is an amazing thing when your dream becomes a reality, and even more so when that dream grows bigger than you had ever anticipated. Today that dream spawned in a dusty one level warehouse in old downtown Denver has a life of its own that goes far beyond anything Jess or I had anticipated.

Last night I returned from Louisville Kentucky, Pete and I were out there inspecting our new whiskey stills at Vendome Copper Works. Vendome just completed 3 new custom stills for Stranahan’s. These new stills will allow us to increase our production by almost 3 fold, this is a very exciting advent in our evolution. It seems just like yesterday that Jessie and I set the first copper still in place, our plan was to make 3 barrels every 10 days. This past December Stranahan’s partnered with a larger company Proximo Spirits based out of New York city. It is their resources that have made this growth possible, and their expertise in management that will take us to the next level. As we grow the rolls of all the employees here at Stranahan’s will become more and more important. The dedication and skill of these cfraftsmen will be the fuel that will grow a once small dream in to an American legend. So if you ever catch me talking in the first person, correct me, and know that “I” is shorthand for “we”. There is no way I could make such a great whiskey with out the dedication and passion of an army. Heck I guess you are part of that “WE” now. After all it is you that has spread the word about our whiskey, it is you that has shared a glass with a friend to let them know how special our whiskey is. Thank you or sharing in our dream and helping Stranahan’s grow our business one friend at a time.

Cheers

Listening to: Townes Van Zandt – Heartworn Highway

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inspired

It was late night, and we both were exhausted and soaking wet. Benny motioned to me and poured another embarrassing amount of really good red wine into my pint glass. I was washing dishes and Benny was meticulously wiping down his work station. In spite of feeling beat, we were in great spirits. As we were recapping the stunning dinner we had just shared, Patrick burst loudly into the kitchen and said something in drunken French I could not understand. I was in heaven.

Benny Kaplan, Chef/Owner of Shazz and Patrick Dupays Chef/Owner of Z cuisine had somehow gotten their greedy, talented hands on a rare organic Mule Footed Pig. The Mule Footed Pig is a rare heirloom breed that has almost been squeezed out of existence by commercial farmers seeking leaner, more uniform ‘factory’ pigs. Benny and Patrick could have split this treasure up, serving this amazing meat in their respective restaurants, and in doing so they could have driven their reputations even higher, but instead they decided that they would rather celebrate this ‘score’ in style. They invited 40 of their closest friends to Shazz on a Tuesday night (Benny is always closed on Tuesday night) and they threw down– one of those ‘No-holds-barred, no-detail- spared, inspired’ kind of throw-downs. From what I can remember the menu went something like:

Menu
Pate of pork shoulder and duck liver, house made lardo, with crostini
Fresh made andoullie sausage with seared Alaskan sea scallops
Posolo
Potatoes Gratin De Cabasa
Pork Belly sliders
Standing Pork rib roast
(The standing roast changed my life)
Chocolate covered bacon rolled in candied pecans

I finished the last course standing at the hot grill with Patrick arguing about technique and discussing American BBQ, drinking wine, and eating right off the fire. I had abandoned the dinning room completely.

I don’t think we got out of there until almost 3 in the morning. Benny had let his whole staff go and we handled the clean up. All of us had to work the next day, but it was worth it. It was one of those meals you have dreams about, a forever standing bench mark in your mind of what is possible when the stars align and the magic happens. The other thing I walked out of there that night with, besides a hangover, was a promise from Benny to work with me on a whiskey dinner. Months later we talked and tossed around some ideas. We wanted to utilize all the elements of my whiskey in the cooking, not just drink the whiskey, but to eat it as well. We brainstormed and rejected the ideas too adventurous for civilians, and decided on a exciting walk through the flavors associated with the whiskey. This is what we came up with.

MENU

Duck Charcuterie
Duck Prosciutto, Duck Liver Pate, Fried Duck Heart

Goat chop
Stranahan’s barley salad, Goat cheese, Barley Vinaigrette

Stranahan’s Whiskey Barrel Smoked Rib Trio
Lamb rib, Pork Spare rib, Beef short rib, House-made Stranahan’s BBQ sauce, cole slaw
(ribs smoked with wood from Stranahan’s barrels)

Stranahan’s Whiskey tasting hosted by Head Distiller Jake Norris

Apple bread pudding
Stranahan’s toffee sauce

I can’t promise that Benny will let you wash dishes when it is over, but I can promise you that you will love every bite and leave with more friends than you came in with.

The dinner will begin at 7:00 p.m. It is four courses plus cocktails for $50 per person. Please call Shazz directly for reservations as they will not be available through Opentable

Shazz Cafe
4262 Lowell Blvd
Denver, Colorado 80211
(303) 477-1407

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New Snowflake Release

No I am not here to announce the arrival of another snow storm, but rather the release of another of my special series…The Snowflake.

This is a most interesting expression. The whiskey almost sneaks on to your tongue and then builds into a huge, powerful burst of flavor, much like an orchestral crescendo, or a kiss growing into a lover’s embrace. When nosing the undiluted sample, the bouquet gives up pear, apple, vanilla and graham cracker. Upon tasting, the palate delivers the pear’s sweetness, giving way to creamy milk and honey. Buttered wheat toast and sea salt make an appearance…and here it comes, a huge overripe plum flavor that is big and rich. The ruddy fruit really shows up and lingers in the back of your palate with an amazingly large flavor given its humble entrance.

After adding a few drops of spring water, the pear in the nose explodes, bright and clear, now more identifiable as Bartlett pear accompanied with hints of green apple and gingerbread. The scent of rain water and spices are subtle but present. As the whiskey blooms, the tongue finds faint cocoa and sea salt. Banana makes a brief appearance and then BOOM! Big sweet and complex, the overripe flavors in the full strength sample give way to a more tempered ripe plum swirling with complexity. The whiskey leaves your palate ringing with thoughts of cinnamon, cardamom and the faint heat of chilies.

As sometimes it happens in life, someone sneaks in when you are not looking, hardly of notice at first, and they are pleasant to have around but nothing special. Over time their presence quietly grows and before you realize it they occupy your thoughts and your heart is soon ringing with hunger. This is the best way to describe the flavor of this whiskey, subtle at first but soon growing to inhabit your entire palate, your mind consumed with beauty and complexity.

Let’s call it Desire.

The Desire Snowflake will go on sale Saturday 2/5/11 at 11:00am.  This extremely limited release is available only in our tasting room at the distillery for $90.  There are only 200 bottles made, so we are limiting each person to 2 bottles.  First come first served, I am afraid we do not accept reservations or phone sales.  You have to get out of your warm bed, fight the elements and actually show up in person to purchase this special release, and I promise The Desire Snowflake will be gone long before the snow outside.

Listening to: Conway Twitty- I’d Love To Lay You Down

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Upcoming Whiskey Dinner at Black Pear

If there is one thing I love as much as making great whiskey it is eating great food.  (To tell a secret, I am a bit of a cook myself.)  I have joined forces with Black Pearl’s Executive Chef Kate Horton to create a special menu showcasing Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey as an ingredient.  Each dish will incorporate one of the elements of Stranahan’s showcasing its diversity in the dish.  These flavor elements include the whiskey itself, the whiskey barrel wood, and even the malted barley used to create the wash.  I enjoyed developing this menu with Chef Kate and will enjoy sharing it with you.

BLACK PEARL PRESENTS: STRANAHAN’S COLORADO WHISKEY DINNER

Monday January 31, 2011
 6:30

Cocktails dinner to follow

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Passed- House made cracked barley crackers, taleggio cheese, whiskey fig jam

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Whiskey barrel smoked quail, shaved fennel water cress salad, currants, almonds

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Roasted butternut apple soup, candied barley crunch

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Pan seared duck breast, candied Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey fruit, wild rice pilaf, collard greens

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Guided whiskey tasting with Stranahan’s Head Distiller Jake Norris

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Chocolate Whiskey Soufflé, SCW Caramel Sauce and advanced tasting of the next Snowflake

Seating is limited and it will go fast, so if you are interested in experiencing this evening of delicious food, great whiskey and conversation, make your reservation now. http://www.blackpearldenver.com/  I look forward to seeing you there!

Jake

Listening to: Townes Van Zandt

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The Night Shift

As I sit here watching the spirit still heat up I am transported to the very early days of my career when we had just started Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey.  I am watching  the still that started it all.   In the beginning the distillery was a 600 sqft room with one little still and a few old beat up dairy tanks.  The 160 gallon Vendome Copper pot column still ran both the wash and the spirit.  I would work a 10 day week, the first 8 distilling wash and then the last 2 days distilling the spirit from the week.  That would yield 3 barrels.  It seems like yesterday but it was 7 years ago.  I would put in 12-16 hour days with out even noticing.  I was so immersed in the process, I would often sleep on the wooden table for a few hours to avoid going home so I could get another batch started.  Today I sit in a 60,000 square foot facility with a 750 gallon Vendome pot column and the original 160 gallon still….and we are looking at expanding again..  We are currently distilling, 3 shifts, 24×5 producing 10 barrels a week, and our whiskey is distributed in 38 states and 7 other countries.  It has been an amazing experience to see our dream literally come to life.  We have received a number of major awards, but the real reward is handing a bottle across the counter to  some hard working guy that has chosen to spend his hard earned on my whiskey.  Not because it is cheaper, or solely because it is local, but because it is better.  I am covering the 5pm to 1am shift for one of my distillers that is on vacation.  Sitting here alone in the distillery, breathing the aromas, watching the stills, just the sounds of the copper groaning and the cat wandering listlessly mewing in search of a mouse, I am transported to those early days of wonder.  Long days filled with discovery, excitement, and hard work.  It is nice to fill in on a night shift every once in a while and sit alone in the distillery and be reminded of why I started this in the first place.

Listening to: Undisputed Truth – Smiling Faces Sometimes

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You Just Never Know..

I remember trying to fill our first barrel of whiskey ever.  Jess and I had thought through every part of the whiskey making process… except, of course how to get the finished spirit out of the tank and in to the barrel.  We tried to use a hose and a funnel in the barrel and run the pump turned way down, but, of course we sprayed new spirit everywhere.  We were horrified.  All that work, all those resources, literally the first drops of our new whiskey spilling on to the floor.  In frustration I turned to Jess and said “I wish it were like at the gas station, you know, just put the handle in and pull the trigger and when it is full it shuts off.”  In classic Graber fashion, he shrugged and grinned and said “Why not?”.  The next day he called the Husky corporation, manufactures of gas nozzle fillers.  We told them we needed a food grade stainless steel filler nozzle for filling whiskey barrels.  At first they were a little skeptical, but after bribing them with promises of bottles of fine whiskey he came around.  A week or so later a food grade nozzle showed up in the mail and it worked like a charm, and we have used it ever since.  Just today, 7 years later, Grenny Sutcliffe stopped in to see the new distillery.  Grenny is the son of Grenville Sutcliffe Sr. who we had originally talked to back in 2004.  Grenny had enjoyed some of the whiskey we had sent to his father, and he just happened to be in Denver and wanted to stop in and say hello.  I happily showed him around and demonstrated how we used the nozzles.  We ordered replacement nozzles this year.  Grenny told us his R&D dept had torn apart our old worn out nozzles and used them to improve on the new design.  I guess alcohol can corrode some parts and effect the performance.  Later we were talking in the tasting room over a whiskey and he mentioned that his father had been inspired after our conversation years ago and and wondered if there was a market for whiskey barrel fillers.  He called over to Scotland and it turns out that there was.  Husky then designed and built specialized whiskey barrel fillers they named the 10-WN, for whiskey nozzle.  They shipped them to  The BruichladdichThe Macallan and a few others.  The 10-WN is just like a regular filler except the filling tube reaches to the bottom of the barrel so you can fill from the bottom to the top.  I smile a bit knowing my little contribution, and cant help but wonder what the old houses were using up until that point.  It is nice to think that distillers thousands of miles away are using fillers that were inspired by Jess and I fumbling around in a little warehouse getting our feet wet…………. both figuratively and literally.

Listening to: Hank Williams – I’m So lonesome I could Cry

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New Hungarian White Oak Snowflake Release

New Hungarian White Oak Snowflake Release

Posted: 03/10/10

When you go to bed in Colorado you never know what you will wake up to. It could have dumped big fat dry snow all night and there are 4 foot drifts up against your front door. There could be a light even dusting of fine snow like a few shakes from a flour sifter all over the landscape. You might wake up to a spring-like morning as I did this morning…I wore shorts to work! One thing for sure- whatever it is like outside, it wont last long. Today I announce the release of a very special SNOWFLAKE series Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. This snowflake is the single barrel #741 with additional maturation in a spent Hungarian white oak cask. Barrel #741 aged 2 years and 2 months in new American White oak, then transferred into a spent Hungarian white oak barrel that once to house a blended red wine form Sonoma Ca. The interplay of the American white oak and the Hungarian white oak is stunning. The red wine haunts the whiskey more than inhabits it.  A truly remarkable whiskey, I will admit I have a crush on this whiskey. Now for the bad news, there is only 156 bottles of this gem. The Hungarian White Oak Cask Finish available only at the distillery for the price of $75, and like that light dusting of morning snow, when it is gone it is gone.

-Jake Norris

Tasting notes :

Nose, Neat: Rich and deep; a mellow and appetizing nose. Smooth citrus, more of a grapefruit. Damp ancient oak rafters; sitting on a hay bale in an antique barn, in the rain.

Palate, Neat: The most fleeting caramel before roasted malt swells to fill the senses; the vanilla is a welcome afterthought. Fabulous mouth feel.

Finish, neat: Again, smooth; long, and stately. This whiskey comes across as very old. Aged citrus, mellow and gentle. Chocolate on a shortbread cookie, or maybe a graham cracker.

Nose, Dilute: A mistiness opens up, the whiskey seems to age. Creamed corn. Smells like one could could take a nice big bite of this whiskey. Underneath the wet grain, a hidden chocolate note…

Palate, Dilute: glorious mouth feel, and the chocolate comes out of hiding! The mouth feel and chocolate together remind me of chocolate pudding. This boggles..!

Finish, Dilute: Orange/chocolate. Touch of vanilla. Long, and wet. Gooey almost.

Listening to: Robert Johnson

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Snow already?

Posted: 09/14/10

Fall is in the air.  The trees are barely starting turn, the nights are cooling off, but the days are still warm.  This is a perfect time to announce the release of the new Triple Wood Snowflake.   The Triple Wood Snowflake will go on sale at the distillery only Wednesday September 15th 12:00 noon for $85.  There are only about 130 bottles of this special whiskey made.  It is strictly first come fisrt serve, and when it is gone it is gone

The Triple Wood Snowflake spent its first 2 years in a heavily charred new american white oak barrel. When the flavor profile was right I transferred it into a used Hungarian white oak cask that had previously housed a Chardonnay form Sonoma California. Over the course of months the tannins form the hungarian white oak went to work in harmony with the white wine that had soaked into the wood and created a massive layer of rich delicate flavors on top of the Stranahan’s foundation. To round out and mellow the new tannins and flavors, I moved the whiskey back into a used Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey cask. The time spent back in the worn american white oak gently rounded the edges of the 2 complimenting oaks creating a complex, rich, harmony of flavors. This one is for savoring.

Tasting Notes:

Full strength:
Nose: Big fruit and spice right off the bat. The woody smell of an apple cider press, bartlett pear, green apple and melon. As the nose blooms, spices manifest in a cinnamon and mineral wisp, light brown sugar, dates, pie crust, Colorado wild flower honey. With ones eyes closed you could easily imagine a forest in autumn, rich musty aromas playing with bright cool notes of turning leaves and the promise of snow.
Palate: The first sip brings rich dark honey, spice, laced with strong floral notes, flavors of green apple and ripe cherry. As the whiskey settles into the palate the spice resonates with heat, white pepper and chilies(?), molasses, marduro tobacco soars in the mouth. These flavors somehow remind me of a cabin in the woods. The finish is extremely long, black grape, spice, wood, coco and coffee. Bright green apple, possibly lychee fruit? Tons of butter, leaves me tasting a biscuit buttered and slathered in pear jam.

Dilute:
Nose: With a drop of water the Chardonnay really shows up. Honey, butter, toasty, coco, floral, mineral. I almost pick up pancakes?
Palate: Cantaloupe, honey, wedding cake frosting. Floral bright notes, mango, lychee, melon, The spice remains- sweet white pepper. Again reminds me of the woods. Banana, chilies, biscuit, wheat bread, tobacco. Lots going on. Finish is stone fruit, mineral, black tea, buttered toast and peppery tobacco. The whiskey maintains a heat throughout the entire experience with out being unpleasant.

As you let the glass sit and open up, the sweetness grows and grows. What a finish, complex and big, wisps of campfire and coffee. Over all this whiskey can’t help but remind me of autumn, the last fleeting days in the forest before winter reclaims what is hers. I think I’ll have another.

Cheers Jake

Listening to: Guy Clark

Remember, this is first come first serve, we will not hold a bottle for you and we can not sell before 12:00pm Wed afternoon.

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