Distiller: Whiskey Acres. ABV: 43.5%. No age statement. Mashbill: 75% sweet corn, 15% wheat, 10% malted barley. Price: $30.
Distilleries come in all shapes and sizes, and that applies to their approach to distilling as well as their physical characteristics. Some, like my beloved Lagavulin, focus on a few core expressions. Others are more willing to play and see what works.
Take, for example, the DeKalb, Illinois-based Whiskey Acres. They could’ve easily sat on the laurels with their superb rye and bourbon. But they believe that the breadth and depth of corn varietals is equal to that of grapes, and they’re determined to show what the crop can do.
Well, after the Artisan Series Sweet Corn Bourbon Whiskey, I’m a believer. The whiskey’s mashbill (75% sweet corn, 15% wheat, 10% malted barley) is evident throughout the experience. It’s like a trip back to the fall harvests I remember from my uncle’s farm.
The nose sweeps me into memories of the corn casserole my grandmother made; not overly sweet, rich, slightly oaky. There’s vanilla as well, and a hint of baked apple. The palate continues with the baked apples, without being overly sweet. Buttered corn glides alongside streaks of vanilla. Ever so faint roasted chicken.
The finish achieves the near impossible for a young whisky. There’s no flameout into oblivion. Instead, all the elements come back to play. The apple is now a lovely pie, the corn a just-out-of-the-oven cornbread, and there’s leather and pipe tobacco for good measure.
I figured I’d like this distillery-only juice after my previous Whiskey Acres experience, but I didn’t expect to like it this much.
Here’s to those who dare. Cheers, friends! – TM