View Full Version : Death's Door White Whiskey

04-09-2009, 17:17
Last week at WhiskeyFest Chicago I attended a panel discussion of craft distillers, which was fascinating. Several of them had samples of unaged whiskies, the most intriguing of which (to me) was the White Whiskey from Death's Door Spirits of Wisconsin.

From perusing these forums I know I'm not the only person who has ever tasted white dog and thought, "Wow, that's pretty good! I'd buy that!" Unlike the big boys, the guys at Death's Door heard that and decided to do something about it, to wit, they bottled and released a batch of very young whiskey. The sample I had was pretty good.

One of the things that intrigues me about them is that this is not the usual corn whiskey---they make it with predominantly wheat, including malted wheat, which I believe makes them unique in the whiskey world. If I understood the guy correctly, there are some barrels of this aging, and I am really curious to see what it tastes like after the barrel has had a chance to do its stuff on it.

But the White Whiskey is pretty tasty stuff right now. I'm hoping to find a bottle somewhere around here, but the run was pretty low and I don't know if it made it down here. The guy I asked at the River North Binny's had not heard of it; I haven't been to any other Binny's or Sam's looking for it. I usually get up to Wisconsin a few times over the summer so I will also look up there.

I have always thought that young whisky like that had a lot of potential that was not explored, and it is exciting to me to see some of the new craft distillers making it.

Other distillers that had young whiskies (IIRC---I had been drinking) were Stranahan's from Colorado and Templeton from Iowa, but I don't recall that they were going to sell them in that form.

Edit: Here's a link (http://www.deathsdoorspirits.com/uploads/DDWW%20data%20sheet.pdf) to an info sheet about the Death's Door Whisky.

04-09-2009, 19:22
Chuck, I have a couple of bottles of the Death's Door whiskey. I even took one to the KBF last year. All agreed it wasn't bad for a very young whiskey. Everyone wondered what it would be like after it had a chance to age. The bottles I found were in Wisconsin. I bought them at a Woodman's Market in either Janesville or Madison. Sorry, but I can't remember which one. It was $28.99 there. I have seen it here in Illinois. Again, sorry but I can't remember exactly where. I do a lot of dusty hunting, and I've been to a lot of stores. Reckon I should keep better notes. I do remember that the price was a lot higher here. I believe that Lush Wine and Spirits is the distributor, and they are located in Chicago. You might try checking out Lundeen's Discount Liquors. They have stores in Dekalb, Sycamore, and two stores in St. Charles. I can't be sure, but I think the store in Sycamore might have been the one that had some. There is also a map on their website showing stores that have Death's Door products. Maybe do some calling to see if they carry the whiskey. I've seen a lot more of the vodka and gin. Hope I've helped you out some. Good Luck. Joe

04-15-2009, 07:27
I hadn't heard of them, but their name (I think Pappy would have frowned on linking good wikkey with death and danger) and the mention of malted wheat scream out that they come from a microbrewing tradition.

I wonder if they distill from a mash or a beer, as their promo states a "beer mash" with no indication of whether they sparge it off, or ferment it whole.

I like the specificity of their marketing language; instead of blather like "handmade in the finest way" it's full of techish terms like "90 gallon batch still," "contact with copper" and "heart cuts." Also they call out what sounds like the real name of their water source "Silurian Aquifer," not a generic "purest water." They even give a bit of a real description of their flavor, not just that their the finest yet most down to earth, and the smoothest yet most robust whiskey found in these here United States of America.

I'll be really interested to compare an aged version of this to Bernheim Wheat and a wheater bourbon to get a sense of how higher proportions of wheat (and no sweet, oily corn) affect the flavor.


04-15-2009, 07:39
The Death's Door people are quite cool, and open about their processes. "Death's Door" refers to a water feature in Michigan of some sort. The gin is also good.

04-15-2009, 07:43
I ordered a couple bottles of this and
am looking forward to trying it. White
whiskey makes me think "moonshine"
so I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

04-15-2009, 14:15
I thought that the name was weird when I first saw it too. Made me think it was some kind of rot gut whiskey. Not at all. The wheat for the whiskey comes from Washington Island Wisconsin. Washington Island is off the tip of the Door County peninsula. The passage between Washington Island and the tip of Door County is called Death's Door. I guess there are a lot of rocks and reefs, and it is very hazardous to navigate. Supposedly many boats have met their end there. Hence the reference to Death's Door. Joe