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MurLarkey Smokehouse - Naturally Cured Whiskey

Nose: Well, like you might expect from its name, this smells smoky. It has a very pleasant, almost hunger-inducing, “smoked ham” smell. It is definitely unique, as far as whiskey goes. It made me anticipate tasting a whiskey that might be bacon-like. (It is, however, not very similar to the bacon liqueur that is one of my occasional guilty pleasures (Mama Walkers Maple Bacon) and it isn’t nearly as sweet or candy-like (maple-y?).) Palate: The first sip definitely tastes like it smells and hits you with a pleasant smokiness. Now, if you don’t like smoke in your whiskey, you probably won’t want to get near this. Did I mention that it is pretty smoky? I happen to like a little smoke, so this started out well. This has a decent, medium mouthfeel. The finish is just as smoky as when it starts out and lasts a decent amount of time. It leaves a slight smoky aftertaste that reminded me of that “liquid smoke” that you add to BBQ sauce or a marinade that gives it a smokiness. The smoke is somewhat artificial in nature and lasts quite a long time. There’s very little heat in this. It warms a little in the finish, but it is pretty light. Comments: I can’t stress enough how unique this is. This isn’t a bourbon and should not be in any way confused with a bourbon. Most whiskey drinkers, when they think of smoke, think of a single malt scotch. While this is definitely smoky, it is really not very scotch-like. It really stands alone and is so unique that I can’t really compare it to anything else. I like this because it is really different, but I also don’t think I could drink more than one glass of this at a sitting. Since its smokiness invokes a smoky campfire, this would probably make a great sipper by the fire, either fireplace or campfire….if you wanted to sip slowly. The label also recommends trying it in your Bloody Mary and I think that is probably a great idea. I think it might make for some very interesting variations in other cocktails as well. This is put out by MurLarkey Distilled Spirits in Bristow, VA. Their label states, “Handcrafted with pride in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Starting with award winning Justice white whiskey, we barrel age this unique whiskey using a proprietary blend of smoked, charred and native oak to infuse until perfection. Certified gluten free with no artificial flavors or coloring, Smokehouse is like no other.” SO….it is basically a moonshine to which they added smoked and charred “stuff” (one would assume staves, but they don’t say). This is sort of an odd duck because it technically is one of the artificial aging processes of which I am not very fond. BUT…..since they are doing it to a “moonshine” (white whiskey) AND it does remove almost all “moonshiney” taste from it, I can’t argue with it too much. It clocks it at 90 proof and the label only states that it is “distilled from grain”, so no clue on the mashbill. Total Wine sells a 750m for $49.00, but when I got this, I got it on sale for around $37. Although it is unique and somewhat interesting, $37 is probably at the very upper range of what I’d be willing to pay for this. At $50, unless you REALLY want something different to offer folks, I might take a pass. I imagine that this bottle will last a while because this is not something you can drink every day. Or, at least, I can’t. If you picked up a waffly “love/hate” thing going on here, you are probably right. I did enjoy this, but I’m afraid of overselling it because it really may not be most people’s cup of tea.

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