Seven Stills Chocasmoke Review

Distiller: Seven Stills. 47% ABV. Age: 6 months. Mashbill: undisclosed (from oatmeal stout with peated malt). Price: $35-45 for 375ml.

Seven Stills is the brainchild of San Franciscans Tim Olbert and Clint Potter, who’ve set out on the ingenious–and in retrospect, oddly obvious–mission of making great craft whiskies from great craft beers.

As of summer 2015, they’re released three out of a planned series of seven: Whipnose (from a double IPA), Fluxuate (from a coffee porter), and the above-mentioned Chocasmoke, from a chocolate oatmeal stout.

Call me crazy, but I loved this stuff. I’m not one for anything that can show up in the “Novelty Whiskey” part of the menu (LA’s Thirsty Crow Bar actually has one), but Chocasmoke won me over.

Full-blown chocolate oatmeal stout nose–no surprise there–but then…lemon! The palate’s unexpectedly bright. Youth is evident, as to be expected from a mere six months of aging, no matter how small your barrels, but it’s under control. Smoked honey. Bitter cocoa and mild peat.  Lovely alternation between the darker nose and brighter palate as you make your way through the dram. A little like a wild armagnac turned up to 11. Just imagine this with some age!

Yes, it’s mostly available in California. And yes, the price for a 375ml should give you pause. But if you’re at a whiskey bar adventurous enough to stock it, and especially if your taste in beer runs rich and chocolatey, don’t pass it up.

I’ll be following future Seven Stills releases with great interest. Lay up a few barrels for some serious aging, gents! – BO

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