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Stranahan's Colorado "Solitude" Snowflake

A Rare Privilege

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@CharlieDavisReview by @CharlieDavis

20th Nov 2010


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Jake Norris, Stranahan's Head Distiller, occasionally creates a special one-of-a-kind bottling. Since each is unique, he calls them "Snowflakes". Solitude is one such Snowflake. It is a fully-aged Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, finished in a Hungarian White Oak red wine cask, then finished again in a port cask.

Unfortunately for most of us, this bottling may never be accessible to the public; as things stand now, the entire batch is being bought by a private party. I was fortunate enough to have acquired a bottle before that transaction. Here's my humble take on it:

Nose, neat: Dark and appetizing. Gingerbread, slightly overdone. Faintest citrus dusted with powdered sugar. A touch of floral; black pepper? Buttery? Old, damp oak.

Palate, neat: Soft and mildly fruity. Extremely gentle on the palate. Toast, well done. A hint of sour.

Finish, neat: Chewy. Rye crackers with marmalade. Delicate ripe fruit. The sour notes grow, but not unpleasantly. Far out into the finish red wine is noticeable—ah, that’s the slightly sour note..!

Nose, dilute: Loses richness, but picks up a bit of complexity. A feinty note of over-ripe fruit appears; almost as if this were a sherried finish. Some vanilla, too.

Palate, dilute: More toast. Smooth and balanced. Dusty vanilla. Subtle.

Finish, dilute: Long and slow; a delightful powdery sweetness on the tip of the tongue.

Summary: Refined and sophisticated. Benefits from time to open up. This is mellow and thought-provoking—reminiscent of single-malts when they start to gray around the temples a bit—say, around 18 years. This is a gentle, complex, dignified dram--and like all Stranahan's blottlings, it's utterly unique in an American whiskey.

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