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Delaware Phoenix Distillery - Single Barrel Artisanal Bourbon

Nose: This has a pretty high level of “moonshine” smell. Yep, that’s about it. Palate: If your palate is expecting “moonshine” from the nose….well, you won’t be disappointed. This has a pretty strong moonshine taste, but with some hints of pepper and some cinnamon. It is pretty hard to tell, but I suspect this has a some amount of rye in the mashbill because there are some hints of rye spice hidden deep within this one. It has a fair amount of heat that starts almost immediately and lasts through to the finish, which is about medium in length. I found the heat to be a bit on the harsh side. Later sips brought out more corn sweetness, but the heat still made it seem more like moonshine. Surprisingly, it has a pretty decent, oily mouthfeel. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough to save this. Comments: This is 100 proof. I suspect that the reason they bottled it at that is because it probably retains some small amount of something to differentiate it from straight up moonshine. I think at a lower proof, you might taste nothing but moonshine. This is another “craft” whiskey and it comes from upstate New York. According to the label, it is 100% pot distilled from corn, rye and malted barley “based on 19th century methods in a traditional copper pot still”. (Internet sources place the mashbill at 70% corn, 13% rye and 18% “small grains” (rye and wheat).) It also states it is aged “under 12 months”. Legally, they CAN call this bourbon, because there is no minimum age requirement if you just call it bourbon. (If you call it “Straight Bourbon”, it has to be aged at least 2 years. Also, if it is aged less than four years, it must legally include an age statement on the label.) Given its age, it isn’t surprising that it tastes like moonshine. I don’t begrudge these “craft” distillers from trying to make some money by putting out whiskey as soon as they can, but what does annoy me is the prices they charge (although, I also understand WHY they do so). That said, the distiller’s website indicates that they no longer make whiskey and that the last bottles were released in Nov 2017. This may be because this was a one-man operation….or, rather, a one WOMAN operation. The distiller is Cheryl Lins. I at least give her credit for trying AND for doing all the work herself. I got this 375 bottle in New York City a few years ago. I asked the salesman to show me stuff that I could only get in NY. At the time, I did not know that most NY whiskies are solidly in my “don’t like" camp. I don’t remember exactly what I paid for this, but I seem to think it was in the mid to upper $30 range. I AM willing to admit that a few years aging (although, IN New York?) would probably have made this a decent whiskey. I base this mostly on the pretty nice mouthfeel. But…who knows? And, it really is a moot point. Lastly…..I’m not a big moonshine fan. If YOU are, no reason to be ashamed AND, you might like this.

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