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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.