Distiller: Wyoming Whiskey. 44% ABV. Age: 5+ years. Mashbill: at least 51% corn, undisclosed proportions of wheat and malted barley. Price: $47.
Wow. There’s nothing like trying a bottle from a microdistiller that’s all but unknown outside its home state, and being not just pleasantly surprised, but truly impressed. Wyoming Whiskey trumpets a 95 rating from WhiskyCasts’s Mark Gillespie — and I can see what he liked.
Wyoming Whisky It’s not a Kentucky bourbon profile, nor should it be. It’s a purely local product: all Wyoming grain and Wyoming water. The company signaled its seriousness early on by hiring as its master distiller Steve Nally, who spent 33 years with Maker’s Mark. (Read the Q&A with him in Imbibe.) They released their first product — their wheated small batch bourbon — in December 2012.
Nose: a touch hot at first, but no white dog bite, no small-barrel blues. Strong green apple. Calvados. Potpourri. With time, toasted baguette with butter.
Palate: black tea with honey. Sandalwood. Sauteed mushrooms? And an empty Chardonnay cask sort of funk that’s hard to place, but I love it. The nose is enjoyable, but it’s the palate that really sets this bourbon apart. You won’t mistake it for anything else on your shelf. Complex, lingering finish.
It’s a distinct enough product that it won’t suit every bourbon drinker. But for my money, that’s exactly what real microdistillers should be doing: producing stuff that expresses a local character, that shows a variety and uniqueness that the big boys don’t.
As with any small distiller, there may be a question of batch-to-batch consistency…I haven’t heard the same wildly split opinions batch to batch as I have with Stranahan’s, but that may also be because Wyoming Whiskey is still little-known. (For reference, I’ve got Batch 28.)
In any event, if you run across it, don’t pass up the chance to try it. And definitely let us know what you think. As of August 2015, it’s sold in 12 states, and the company tells me it’ll soon be sold in 25. It should be sold in all 50.
Hats off, Wyoming Whiskey! – BO
The distiller graciously provided a bottle for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.