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Stranahan's Colorado

Great American Whiskey. (malt)

0 686

@galgReview by @galg

6th Nov 2011

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A little change today, with an American malt whiskey. Made of barley. and In Colorado. Eighty per cent of the barley used to distil this one is grown in Colorado with the remainder coming from the Rocky Mountain region, which is nice. The process is interesting : The barley goes through a roller mill and then into 30 barrel mash-tun at the distillery. The grain is mashed, sparged and transferred as a naturally maltose-sugar-rich liquid to the kettle where it is boiled before being filtered, cooled and transferred to one of 60 barrel fermentation vessels. Once the fermentation is complete, the wash is then again filtered and transferred to distillery holding tanks. From the holding tanks, the wash goes into a custom made combination pot (scotch style) and column (bourbon style) still, made by Vendome Copper Co. of Louisville, Kentucky. it’s distilled twice, of course, taking the best parts of the doubling run after which the spirit is filled into 52.8 gallon charred, American white oak whiskey barrels. The Whiskey is aged a minimum of two years, before it’s ready to be bottled.

Normally i have no access to many American whiskies, as none are here, and outside the USA they are scarce and expensive. Happily my good friend, hebro, and whisky fanatic Josh (from the JSMWS) sent me some of this nectar.

Nose: Starting very sweet and strong with guava jam , tons of vanilla , honey , polished wood and spices. Wee whiff of balsamic, pine and fresh cut grass. Clearly a lot of new wood influence with that great Guava jam (i once ate a wonderful desert of that kind in an Israeli restaurant, and that smell just came back to me). Palate: Sweet and full of spice on the entry. Burnt sugar, rum, again tons of vanilla with fried bananas, flambé with liquor.Yumm. Finish: Spicy wood and ripe banana.

Overall this is a cracking dram in my opinion. Not very refined, but considering it’s age, it’s not as savage as one might expect.Teriffic nose, and palate, very powerful and exotic with the banana guava combo.Certainly, well done. well well done

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6 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

What is the batch number of your sample, please. There are about 60+ different batches of this available now, I believe. Short aging takes away some mellowing possibilities, but new wood always gives a cornucopia of others!

8 years ago 0

@galg
galg commented

let me check ;)

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@galg, your review has inspired me to taste my first sample of Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, compliments of @HP12, one week ago today. I also neglected to note the batch number when I took the sample, but I will ask him. This is quite zippy! I like it a lot. That charred new oak gives a very very interesting twist of flavours to malt whisk(e)y. It is amazing with my sample how woody it is after a mere two(?)years. But then, wood is always a very big part of any whisky. Many whisky lovers would be surprised at how much wood and maturation effect CAN, but not always WILL, be obtained, in a short period of time, depending on treatment and quality of wood, and climate. Taste some $ 25 El Jimador Anejo Tequila, for example. It is 366 days old, and VERY woody!

Scottish whiskies would not require so much aging if they used better, i.e. mostly, newer, wood. Age in itself has never made good, let alone great whiskies.

8 years ago 0

@galg
galg commented

agreed. but i fear that virgin oak, is a bit too much for some whiskies. i imagine how a peated one would fair in a virgin oak ;) nice experiment. let's ask Ardbeg to bottle such an experiment. i am sure they are experimenting with stuff like that ...

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Yes, @galg, the bigger flavour components of whiskies do not always harmonise well together. Some combinations of big flavours clash with one another. Judging those taste combinations that work vs those that clash, is, of course a matter of personal taste peculiar to the individual. One of my big gripes with most Canadian Blended whiskies, for example, is that my taste finds that rye grain flavours and/or wheat grain flavours usually clash badly with wine flavours. I just don't like them together at all, in general. That said, I find an exception in the Crown Royal Reserve, which has clear strong rye flavours with clear wine flavours. Sometimes relatively disharmonious combinations can be made to work if handled just right. You may have read in the Jim Murray Whisky Bibles that he doesn't like heavy peat combined with sherry flavours most of the time. But, that general taste preference did not stop him from naming Ardbeg Uigeadail World Whisky of the Year a couple of years ago.

So far, I haven't much liked rye and wheat combined in the same whisk(e)y either, eg Corner Creek Bourbon, and some Canadians.

As to new oak and peat, the Ardbeg Alligator is using charred barrels. Are they not also new?

I think that new oak is especially useful for malt whiskies that are not heavily dolloped with the other standard Scottish flavouring strategies: wine cask aging and heavy peat and/or seaside brine-aging. Stranahan's gives a good example of how tasty a malty malt can be coming out of new wood, in this case charred new wood. I am looking forward to more of these new wood flavours in malts even though I know that the long term diminishing demographics of the oak forests probably work economically against that trend.

8 years ago 0

@PeatyZealot
PeatyZealot commented

So badly want to try this one...

6 years ago 0

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