Monday, January 30, 2017

Smuggler's Notch Distillery is Top Notch! (VT)

I first had Smuggler's Notch at the Vermont Taste Camp 2016. I had tasted something of their's before, but this was the more complete tasting. Since then, they have been a distiller whose products I have actively sought out. Since then, I have had the opportunity to taste more of this fledgling distillery's new products, and I have been wholly impressed.

Smugglers' Notch Distillery is owned by a father and son team, Ron and Jeremy Elliott. Ron, a retired business executive, and Jeremy, a research chemist in the pharmaceutical industry, inventoried their strengths, assessed various opportunities, and aligned their vision, which culminated in the decision to open a distillery.

I am going to start first with their award-winning, premium single-barrel extra aged amber rum. According to the website, "Aged for 3 years in charred white oak barrels, the process is finished off with double-aging in 4 year-old whiskey barrels to infuse complex whiskey overtones. Each barrel offers a subtly distinct flavor profile...." Like the hold of all sail ships rumbling through humid and hot tropical waters, these rums were stored in unheated summer rick houses to provide that same warm climate feel, to make a more authentic aged rum.
According to them, "Esterfication, a chemical reaction between an alcohol and an organic acid that is affected by time, temperature, and the components present, is an important process in developing the flavor profile of our rum. The lignin material of the oak barrels also contributes flavor components. Most of our rum color develops during the first year and steadily increases during the maturation process. Alternatively, rum esters form at a steady rate through maturation, melding the singular aromas and flavors unique to each barrel of rum."
This amber colored aged rum is filled with sweet spice, caramel, honey, vanilla, and tofee. A most warm and glorious aged rum. Spectacular!

Then I tasted, before release, several new products at the Taste Camp. The most remarkable of which was the Smuggler's Notch Straight Bourbon Whiskey. On a separate occasion I had the occasion to ample the Smuggler's Notch Litigation Wheat Whiskey.

I had tasted the Smuggler's Notch Litigation Wheat Whiskey earlier. It was released on October 30, 2015, Litigation is handmade using a special blend of wheat and malted barley. It is matured in new Char #4 white oak barrels (like bourbon), at 92 proof barrel strength. Butterscotch, caramel, vanilla, all explode out of the glass, with hints of toast and spice. And incredibly balanced light but tasty whiskey.

The Smuggler's Notch Straight Bourbon Whiskey is incredible. The spirit is a mix of at least 51% corn, balanced with rye, and malted barley. wrote, “Smugglers' Notch Bourbon has an exceptionally soft yet rich aroma for a high proof bourbon due to the care taken at all stages of its production.”

Smuggler's Notch uses barrels from several different manufactures to provide complexity and layers of flavor to their whiskies, aging them in their northern Vermont facility. They do lots of blending trials and blend with pure Vermont spring water. At 90 proof, this bourbon has a nose of sweet,boiled corn and rye with all it's nutty and spicy flavors. Caramel, toffee, breadpudding come across with white hard sauce, and spice. An incredible dram. Exceptional.

Smuggler's Notch is incredible distilling!!!!!!