Heritage California Single Malt Whiskey
Grain: 100% unpeated UK malt mash
Distillery: Sutherland Distilling Company in Livermore, CA
Batch: Two barrels distilled in October 2016
Barrel: American Standard Bourbon (ASB) char #4
Nose: vanilla, menthol, cedar, and wet oak
Palate: dry with a building heat, brief apple sweetness, brioche, toasted bread, hints of pear esters and more wet oak.
Heritage is clear, medium amber with a clean nose of medium intensity. We get vanilla, with hints of menthol, cedar, and wet oak. The palate is dry with pronounced intensity and there is a mouth filling, building heat that starts with a brief apple sweetness and peaks in the mid palate followed by brioche, toasted bread, hints of pear esters and more wet oak.
There was a hint of curried spice in the barrel that seems to have given way to impressions of cacao and tannic chocolate notes after vatting and bottling. The heat and ethanol is strong but well integrated. There really isn't a "traditional" American Single Malt yet, but this spirit is in keeping with US practices of distillation on grain and maturation in active (if not new) oak cooperage, both of which help this malt retain a lot of the characteristics of the bourbon produced alongside it.
Produced from unpeated UK malt at Sutherland Distilling Company in Livermore, CA, there were two barrels of Heritage distilled in October 2016. The batch was stored in two different American Standard Bourbon (ASB) char #4 casks until we vatted them. In taste tests, one of the barrels was distinctly sweeter than the other. Even with a sample size of two barrels, the variation in flavor between two “identical” barrels is clear when you control for all other factors (same distillate, same warehouse, same age, etc.). While this malt makes a lovely expression when proofed down, we couldn’t resist releasing it in all its dank, oak-y glory as a cask strength bottling.
Heritage is a great counterpoint to our Maiden Voyage release, which was also produced at Sutherland Distilling Company, but was fermented from the flagship product from Admiral Maltings, an Alameda company that runs one of only a handful of traditional floor maltings in the USA. Heritage and Maiden Voyage were both produced in the same fashion at the same distillery, yet variation in raw materials and process have created two very different flavor profiles.