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Corsair Small Batch Triple Smoke Single Malt

Average score from 2 reviews and 4 ratings 79

Corsair Small Batch Triple Smoke Single Malt

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Corsair Small Batch Triple Smoke Single Malt

This is an "American malt whiskey distilled from cherry, beechwood, and peat smoked barley." It is another of those new, innovative releases from Corsair Artisan Distillery in Nashville, TN (they also have facilities in Bowling Green, KY). According to Derek Bell, Head Distiller, three batches of malted barley are each individually smoked using three smoke sources: peat, cherry and beechwood, and are then put through the mashing and distillation processes. The resulting product is quite nice.

Bottle: Batch no. 97, Bottle 555

Color: Medium amber (but hazy)

Nose: Wood smoke, peat and stone fruit. Vanilla. It reminds me of a chipotle-apricot jam I once made. Fruit notes begin to take prominence over the smoke the longer you spend nosing this whiskey.

Palate: A somewhat light body with a nice buttery mouth feel. Initially sweet with a few spices buzzing around mid-palate. The peat smoke comes through on the palate more than the wood smoke. Drying wood tannins and vanilla arrive late.

Finish: Not overly long but those fruit-smoke notes hold on for a while.

Notes: I know that the small artisan distillers have to keep the bottom line in sight, but I sure wish that this could have been bottled at a higher proof (maybe 45%?). 40% thins out what could have been an amazing whiskey.

Your concluding remark sums it up for me too, except I must have been much more bothered by its thinness. I don't have my notes handy, but I recall thinking "smoky water" and pegging it around 70. It might be greta with less dilution.

Since you mentioned the three-way smoking process: Do we know when they combine the spirits? It sounds like it's three separate spirits coming off the still—do they mature them separately and then blend them for bottling? Or do they mature together? If it's the former, I wonder if they have any plan to release single components, like just the cherry-smoked whisky.

OLJas: To be honest, I haven't a clue if the three differently smoked grains are distilled separately or as a combined mash bill. I've read and re-read the whiskey's description and it seems to suggest that the grains are mashed, distilled and barreled as one.

This is a different approach than Forty Creek Distillers, a great little Canadian distillery, takes. Their Barrel Select is a combination of barley, corn and rye, each of which are distilled and barreled separately, aged (how long?)separately, and then combined for bottling.


Corsair is a microdistillery in Nashville, founded by Darek Bell, the author of Alt Whiskeys, about alternative ways of distilling whisky beyond the usual malt, rye, corn, etc methods. As you may expect from an author of such a book, there is a lot of experimentation going on at his distillery, with various grains, smokes, yeasts and all sorts of witchcraft and wizardry percolating within.

Triple Smoke is a malt whisky, made with malt smoked three different ways: peat, cherrywood and beechwood. They are then combined, distilled in copper pot stills and aged in new charred oak. Each bottle comes from a single barrel - the one reviewed here is Bottle No. 155 (of 356) from Batch 46.

The colour is a cloudy deep colour. How many cloudy whiskies are there? Not many. The nose is wet campfire, Ribfest BBQ sauce, vanilla, applewood-smoked bacon, pulled pork, lime, black cherry compote, sugar maple and thick peat smoke. Rubber bands. Paprika. Very complex but a little bit too much meaty BBQ for me (which I like on my plate, less in my glass). Water just seems to dilute things here.

The palate is cinnamon, cloves, honey butter, maple, bacon fat (but not greasy), some pepper. Lots of vanilla with a buttery mouthfeel. Water brings out the maltiness. Also complex but still...not quite to my tastes...

The finish is extremely long and developing with, again, smoky BBQ and some citrus riding the peat smoke. I can guarantee you that you have never tasted anything like this before - a very unique experience! What can I say? I'm just not crazy about it. There is just too much artificial Kraft BBQ sauce to this one, and I am not finding the mixture of scents and flavours all that pleasurable. I have friends who really like it, it's an interesting distillery (I quite like their quinoa whisky!) and it won Artisan Whisky Of The Year in the latest Whisky Advocate Awards. So what do I know? That I'm glad I tried it, and I'll never forget it. One final note: the label says that it makes a great Manhattan - and it does.

@WhiskyBee, it is possible - and to borrow a slight reference from the distillery's logo, it's kind of like a Quentin Tarantino film - people love it, there's a lot going on, it's interesting but just not to my taste.

Whats the mashbill made of? Peated/woodsmoked rye/bourbon is something I´d jump off a bridge for to taste

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