Spirit Works Straight Wheat Whiskey – Distiller: Spirit Works. ABV: 45%. Age: 2+ years. Mashbill: 100% California red winter wheat. Price: $65.
Spirit Works Straight Rye Whiskey – Distiller: Spirit Works. ABV: 45%. Age: 2+ years. Mashbill: undisclosed (at least 51% rye). Price: $65.
Nothing like a new reason for California pride. Spirit Works caught my eye in Bar Keeper Silverlake not long ago, and preliminary reading was promising. Sonoma County, true grain to glass, with no short cuts: all-in house milling, malting, and fermentation, with maturation in 53-gallon new American oak barrels.
Timo and Ashby Marshall of Spirit Works are a husband-and-wife distilling team (like Dick and Marti Waters of Florida Farm Distillers) who make a line of vodka, gin, and several whiskies, including the two I tried, a 100% California wheat whiskey and a straight rye.
Both are flat-out delicious. The wheat whiskey leads with the bright fruit salad notes the grain is known for, especially pineapple and candied lemon. There’s a coppery tang to the sweet nose, with a bit of fresh meadow after a rain. The palate has more fruit w great integration. Perceptibly young without being raw. Brown sugar. Medium-short finish w some spiciness.
The rye mixes fresh and toasted grain on the nose. There’s dry rich orange rind and allspice on the palate, with some honey too, but the sweetness is subdued. Familiar rye mint notes, but none of the dill or anisette you get from brash young ryes like the Willett 3-year-old. Very full mouthfeel, and a long peppery finish with orange pekoe tea.
Nothing makes me happier than finding new craft whiskies I can recommend without hesitation. Here are two of them. Well done, Spirit Works! -BO
The distillers kindly provided samples for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.