Grain: Metcalfe barley grown in Esparto
Mash: 100% unpeated barley malted at Admiral Maltings in Alameda
Distillery: Sutherland Distilling Company in Livermore, CA
Batch: 1 barrel
Barrel: used bourbon
Terroir: 100% East Bay
RELEASE NOTES: Maiden Voyage California Single Malt is a uniquely local single malt. The bottle you’re holding started with Metcalfe barley grown at Schaupp Farms in Esparto, CA. It was then malted at Admiral Maltings in Alameda, one of only a handful of traditional floor maltings in the US. Fermented and distilled on the grain at Sutherland Distilling Company in Livermore, it was stored for almost three years in a used bourbon barrel before it was bottled and transferred to our warehouse in Berkeley. Maiden Voyage is a singular expression of the San Francisco Bay watershed.
Bottled at cask strength (65% ABV), Maiden Voyage has a honeyed oak nose and underlying young stonefruit brandy notes, a midweight mouthfeel, and a honey and vanilla palate that dries to a long, spicy finish with suggestions of menthol and clove.
This release is an excellent example of the emerging American Single Malt category (see American Single Malt Whiskey Commission Standard of Identity) and it doesn't pull any punches.
It’s also an intriguing counterpoint to our Heritage release. Both whiskeys were distilled and matured at the same facility, on the same equipment, using similar methods. Both were fermented from 100% unpeated malt. The difference: the Heritage malt was sourced from a maltster in the UK. There is also a difference in age (Heritage is older) and there’s always some variation introduced by the used bourbon barrels themselves (no two are perfectly alike). All that said, this pair of single malts is still proof that changing the raw materials plays a big part in the flavor profile of the final product.
As with all of our cask-strength releases, approach Maiden Voyage with respect! Nosing and tasting spirits at this high proof is a skill that anyone can master with some patience and practice. We also think that Maiden Voyage opens up nicely with a few drops of water and, while dropping the temperature of your dram will dampen some of your flavor experience, we won’t mind if you put a chunk of ice in your glass along with it.
If you’d like to compare this whiskey with a description of the original Maiden Voyage malted barley it was made from, here’s how the maltster describes it: “Biscuity pale malt with earthy and sweet aromas of dry grass and toast with honey and peanut butter … Maiden Voyage is a pale malt with light golden color, a robust earthy and sweet aroma, and subtle biscuity flavor.”