Nose: The nose on this reminds me of scotch, but that isn’t surprising, given that it is a single malt whiskey made from 100% malted barley. It also has a decent amount of alcohol on this nose, that tends to lean toward a moonshiney smell. Palate: You can definitely taste a hint of scotch-like notes on the palate but it comes with a slight “young alcohol”/moonshiney taste. It is pretty light and has a very youthful taste that makes me think it IS a very young whiskey. There is a bit of smokiness that comes through, particularly in the finish, which is fairly short. By and large, the best description of this is, that it tastes like a very young scotch. It has a light mouthfeel and is pretty smooth, with no harshness nor burning. There’s almost no heat either. Comments: I think that the only thing lacking with this whiskey might just be more time in the barrel (more on this later). That said, I can’t recommend buying it because of that AND the fact that you can actually get a good scotch for less money and other (and better) American Single Malts made entirely of malted barley, for the same or slightly more money. This is 82 proof and is made by the Blue Ridge Distilling Co. in Golden Valley, NC. The Total Wine website lists the price as $42. It seems to be having trouble determining if it wants to be a scotch or more of a moonshine product. I do give this distillery credit for providing more than the usual amount of information on their label. They indicate that they grind the barley on their own roller mill, and that the resulting grist begins the mashing process almost immediately afterwards. One source on the Internet indicates that this may only be aged “up to 6 months in stainless tanks using toasted American oak spirals instead of oak barrels.” Another states that it is only "aged 60 days in a proprietary process to increase the oak’s contact with the whiskey”. Oooh…..there you have it. This is another one of those products that think they can artificially age a whiskey by some magic process that is NOT just putting it in a barrel and letting it SIT. I have yet to try a whiskey made with one of these processes that was any good. I will admit that because this is a single malt, vice a bourbon, it is the least offensive of the whiskey that falls into this category. By the way, the distillery’s website does admit they use this process but do NOT admit how long the whiskey is “aged” with this process (in fact, they invite you to “guess”…..and then don’t tell you). OK…..bottom line. I was given this bottle by someone who visited the saloon and I am ALWAYS appreciative when someone does that…..primarily because it is never expected nor necessary. They had never had it before, so they certainly cannot be faulted. In fact, I thought it was a very nice gesture because they went out of their way to try to find something that wasn’t in the saloon’s inventory. That said, I will NOT be buying another bottle of this and my humble suggestion is that you don’t either. Again, it isn’t total crap, but there’s so much better stuff on which to spend your hard earned dollars.
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