It's the middle of January and, yes, this is only dram three of my advent calendar. As mentioned in a previous post, my aim is to look at each whiskey in detail and try to learn about the distillery as well as the spirit itself. So this is probably going to take a bit of time. At this rate, it might be July before I crack open dram 24. Hopefully, we'll be out of lockdown by then ;-)
So, this is my first taste of anything from the Sonoma Distilling Company and it was a nice, wee introduction.
Founded in 2010, by Adam Spiegel, the Sonoma Distilling Co is located in Rohnert Park in Sonoma County, California. A quick look on Google maps shows that it's situated on an industrial estate next to a car wash, a collision repair specialist and the China Soul For Christ Foundation. So, quite the eclectic neighbourhood then. I guess you don't get that kind of mix in Speyside.
Whereas the distillery's rye whiskey has a 100% rye mash bill, that of the Cherrywood Rye Whiskey is 80% rye (from California), 10% wheat (from California) and 10% cherrywood smoked malted barley (from Wyoming). Something I'm a wee bit confused about is that, on the bottle, it's stated that the rye is from California and Canada and the barley is from Wyoming. However, on the website there are a couple of references to one hundred percent of what is used to make Sonoma whiskey being grown in California. Perhaps the latter is the case now - or was before - and has changed as the distillery has grown and progressed?
This whiskey, as with the others, is double distilled using pot stills and has been aged for a minimum of two years.
Nose: a yeasty, dough-like note initially followed by pumpernickel and a slight hint of dry sawdust; there's a slight farmyard-y note after a while; there's a note of tinned clementines in the background as well as stewed apples and blackberries; a hint of crème brûlée appears after a while in the glass.
Palate: a nice whack of rye spice initially; when the spice starts to dissipate, notes of porridge and honey emerge; there are notes of stewed blackberries and Lebkuchen; hints of cloves and cinnamon emerge in to the finish together with a slight chocolate orange note.
Overall this is an enjoyable whiskey. There's some pleasant rye spice at the start which isn't overwhelming; the sweetness of the red fruit notes balance it out. The Cherrywood Rye is available on Master of Malt for £49.20: CLICK HERE
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