Chambers Bay Straight Bourbon


Nose: This has a youthful, moonshiney smell to it. It has a very slight band-aid/medicinal scent on later sniffs. Palate: This has a youthful taste to it, but it is combined with a pretty decent dose of heavy char taste. It has a decent mouthfeel that sits in the middle of the spectrum. I still get the youthful flavors on later sips, but it really doesn’t come across as being very moonshiney. Those youthful tastes get overpowered by the burnt oak, dark chocolate, and molasses. It is more on the bitter chocolate end of the sweetness scale. It has some warmth in the medium length finish that mostly comes across as pepper, with just a hint of cinnamon. In later sips, I seemed to pick up some “seed” tastes but am not sure if it is rye seed (which, to me, tastes different than the usual rye spiciness) or if it is something like cardamon. In much laters sips, I started picking up on flavors that reminded me of other whiskies that are single-malt….so a bit smokey. It also has a slightly salty quality…more like salted caramel than just salt. Comments: I must first acknowledge that this bottle was a gift from a very kind reader. MANY THANKS! I kinda like this, it has an interesting and different sweetness, but it’s youthful flavors are still too prevalent to make it a favorite. I would LOVE to taste this after it has aged a few more years. The bottle indicates that it is aged three years and this is another one of the gimmicky “aging processes” bourbons. To their credit, the distillers use a pretty inventive technique. The barrels are aged on floating docks in the bay, so there is a gentle “sloshing” of the whiskey inside the barrel. I suspect they did this to emulate or at least it is similar to, Jefferson’s Ocean Aged concept. Based on the taste, I suspect that the barrels are heavily charred and that the resulting unique flavor may be due more to that than the actual motion of the barrels from being on the dock. But….hey, what do I know? Maybe it is the gentle sloshing about that moves the whiskey in and out of the wood faster and speeds up the aging process. If you believe the “origin of bourbon” stories, it was the motion of the boats going down the Mississippi River that first gave bourbon its character. In any case, I think an extra 2 or 3 years of any kind of aging would make this a very interesting bourbon. Chambers Bay is 95 proof and “boathouse aged for a minimum of three years”. The distillery, which started in 2014, is located in Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest (Washington State). The Chambers Bay Distillery website (chambersbaydistillery.com) indicates that this is wheated bourbon (but does not disclose the mashbill - Internet sources put it at 71% corn, 19% wheat 10% malted barley). They use local ingredients, including Cascade mountain water, sweet yellow corn and soft white wheat from Grant County, Washington and their own proprietary wild-yeast strain harvested from a local apple orchard. Sadly, it appears that so far, this is only available for purchase in Washington State, so you need to know someone (who also likes you!) to get it for you or you need to fly out to Washington to get it. The bad news? Washington State has the country’s highest liquor sales tax, at a WHOPPING 20.5%!! Crazy. The Total Wine stores in Washington advertise Chambers Bay at $38 (plus the 20.5%!) for a 375 bottle. At that price, I find it very hard to recommend as a purchase, but I would recommend taking a taste, given the opportunity. That said, I’m sad to report that the Flying Aces bottle is dangerously hovering at the 90+% empty stage.