This Dry Fly Distilling project is made from grains grown in Washington by farmer Tim O'Danaher [note that different spellings are correct]. Off to a good start: a luxuriously sweet cereal aroma puffs out of the glass as I pour, and adds softened dried fruits and hard candy when actively nosed. The new American oak (53-gallon barrel) is evident immediately, tempering the sweetness with spice, walnuts, and a hard woodiness. Finish is long, balanced, enticing. Definitely enjoyable as a sipper; an interesting new direction.
Not burning my nose; mild bread and vanilla aromas. Peppy stuff, but not explosive on the palate; easily held five seconds on the tongue, but fiery once it gets aerated. Sweet grain with a big saw-toothed edge of cinnamon and hot vanilla, and a circling brim of zingy mint that tightens toward the finish. Pretty interesting stuff for wheat whiskey; a more expressive nose would seal the deal. Price is per 375ml.
O’Danaghers 5 year old American Hibernian Single Barrel, 45%
American Whiskey | $55
The mashbill for this single pot still-style whiskey from Dry Fly Distilling contains oats, along with wheat and malted and unmalted barley. The delicate nose has pistachio pudding, carob chips, dried flowers, iced tea, white pepper, allspice, and almond nougat. It’s led by oak on the palate, but add a few drops of water and cherries, berries, candied violets, almonds, pistachios, semi-sweet chocolate, and gentle spices reveal themselves. Saving the best for last, it finishes with cooked dark fruits, varnish, and leathery oak. (250 bottles)
A fragrant nose offers scents of orange blossom, cinnamon, lemon peel, vanilla, and balanced oak. The palate has a drier orange peel note, as well as peanut shells, cinnamon, ginger, and bitter chocolate. Quite dry on the back palate, where the wood influence becomes much more prominent. The finish is light, with bitter chocolate, some nuttiness, tobacco, dried herbs, and drying oak. Pleasant spiciness, cinnamon, and citrus overall.
Wheats have a fruitier nose than bourbons, it seems, and this is no exception. Gentle, almost delicate fruits on the nose: white grapes, honeydew melon, baked apple. So smooth on the palate: sweet pastry, light baked apple, a nice oak grip keeping it all together. Sip it straight, or build a big highball with just a splash of soda on the ice. Such a friendly whiskey.
Triticale is a wheat/rye hybrid, which I guess appealed to the wheat-mad Dry Fly distillers. Aromas of grass, bubble gum, and oak. Taste is young, brashly sweet, but smooth enough to spread easily over the tongue. There’s spice—light cinnamon, a zip of allspice heat—and grassy brightness, but they’re dressing on the juicy sweet center. Not flawed, and well-made, but I wish it had more to say. Price is per 375ml.
Wheat whiskey, finished in huckleberry port barrels, showing a deep reddish blush, purple-pink around the edges. The fruity richness of the portwood is subdued, but present, and lays across everything else in the nose. Things become less one-dimensional on the palate, and the sweet broad grassiness of the wheat lightens the portwood influence somewhat, but it comes back in the finish. It’s a decent combo, but a bit of a one-note song. Price is per 375ml.
Sweet, crisp nose: apple, mint, wintergreen. Grainy in the mouth; sweet, bready flavors. The whiskey coats the mouth, but more in an obscuring way; it seems to get between you and the flavors. It is quite smooth compared to young bourbons, but it leaves me looking for more. Overall impression is of a sweeter, younger whiskey that needs to mature, and the clean character makes me think maturity would look good on it.
Lots of char and burnt sugar on the nose, leading to some sweet fruit on the palate, with coffee and mocha on the finish. Vanilla cream candies are overwhelmed by a woodpile of oak, drying tannins, and heat that lack balance. Multiple tastings with consistent results.