I don’t know about you, but with the dusting of snow we got last night and the cold weather descending upon us, I’m in the mood for something warm, malty, and with a little kick! That being the case, it was quite serendipitous that this dropped this morning, a little bit ahead of schedule.
For those of you that don’t know, Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey is something a bit off the beaten path and, while there’s a ton of crossover appeal for Bourbon and Rye drinkers, Stranahan’s is an American single malt whiskey. While several well-known distillers produce American malt whiskey (Woodford, Cedar Ridge, Balcone’s, and many others) Stranahan’s is the #1 producer of American single malt whiskey, and it’s really the peg that they hang their hat upon. Here’s just a bit of history for the curious of mind…
“Stranahan’s® Colorado Whiskey is Colorado’s first legal whiskey distillery since Prohibition. This Rocky Mountain Single Malt is handcrafted from grain to glass in Denver, Colorado. Using only the finest resources, our whiskey is made from 4 ingredients: 100% malted barley, yeast, Rocky Mountain water, and time in the barrel.
The story of Stranahan’s started when volunteer firefighter Jess Graber responded to a neighbor’s barn fire in 1998. He never imagined that any good would come of it. But the barn he made an effort to save belonged to Woody Creek local George Stranahan, a long-time brewery owner, and whiskey connoisseur. When the fire settled, the two discovered a shared passion for the Colorado outdoors and a good pour of fine whiskey.
From this relationship, Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey was born. The two developed a recipe for a distinctively smooth and flavorful American Single Malt whiskey using their local mountain surroundings to their advantage and releasing the first Original bottle in 2006. Created and founded in 2004, Stranahan’s® Colorado whiskey is Colorado’s first Rocky Mountain Single Malt, the pioneer and leader of American Single Malt.”
Regular Stranahan’s is good, but when got the opportunity to pick out our own single barrel…we jumped at the chance. This just isn’t a barrel that comes around very often, and the price is right! But, what’s it like? Glad you asked!
This single-barrel American single malt whiskey is bottled at cask strength (115.66 proof) and carries an honest-to-goodness six-year age statement (highly unusual in the world of American malt whiskies). It was laid down in 2016. Seems like a lifetime ago, right? It was pre-Covid. Heck, Brian Fallon had recently broken my heart by disbanding The Gaslight Anthem and had just released a solo album. Like I said, a lifetime ago.
The nose here is absolutely gorgeous. I’m not typically an American single malt fan-boy, but the appeal here is undeniable. Caramelized wood sugars, subtle orchard fruit, grade A pure maple syrup, and a delightful, toasted note that reminds me a bit of campfire marshmallow but more subtle. On the palate, it’s rich, robust, deeply toasty, and well-oaked, with nougat, toasted barley, dried herb, and subtle golden fruit. You feel the proof (as you should, at this strength) and this is one that, for me, warrants a small chip of ice or a small splash of water. With a bit of water, a rich toasted caramel note emerges, and the herbal character deepens.
It’s hard to get a true read on a whiskey a) from the neck pour, b) at 7:30 in the morning, c) in a plastic cup, and d) when you’re sipping and spitting (rather than consuming slowly, with intent) but I am extremely pleased with how this whiskey turned out. Not to toot our own horns here, but we did good with this one 🙂 I’m not one to typically buy American malt whiskey, but a bottle of this guy is on my list as soon as I can afford it. This is a firm and convincing argument for the validity of American malt whiskey. Come on down and try a sample…we’ve got a bottle open!!
$65.99/bottle with a whopping $.50 Fuel Saver!!