A couple of Saturdays ago I was up in Portland, doing some shopping for bourbon and other spirits. When I got done with that, I headed over to House Spirits distillery, where I'd arranged a visit and tour.
HS is best known for Aviation Gin, one made in the style of a jonge g(j)enever. They make a number of other spirits, all of which I tried. I'll be putting my notes, along with my description of the distillery, into a blog post. When that's done I'll put a link to it in the "other alcohol" forum.
But one which I'll go ahead and post about now is their malt whiskey.
This was released in December, in three versions: a white dog (sold out), a barrel proof (sold out) and a 90 proof version (still available).
This last one is erroneously listed on the OLCC list as a rye whiskey. I brought this to their attention and they are trying to get it resolved.
It's 100% malted barley, unpeated, aged two years and eight months in new charred 53 gallon American oak.
It's a nice copper color, with aromas of malt, caramel and a hint of orange. It's a little rough on the palate, with only the barest hint of oak. Finish is short, with some burn.
They are charging $50 a bottle for it, which is too much. After all, Glengoyne 10 is four times older and five dollars cheaper (OR price).
Despite this, it's selling well, probably because of the novelty factor and being a local product. I don't believe that will last, but I've been wrong before.
This is my main complaint about Oregon whiskies - that they're too young. The best of them, McCarthy's Single Malt, is aged only three years, and manages the neat trick of being peaty without being obnoxious about it (attention, Laphroaig!), but could definitely benefit from more time in the barrel. I do know that they have some that's being aged longer - right now it's a little over four years old. I don't know when they plan to bottle it (they may not know either).
This is ancient by Oregon standards. In 2008, Cascade Peak released a batch of nine-month old rye, but have not followed up with subsequent releases (and I doubt it's because they're aging it longer, though I should check into this).
And then there's Rogue "Dead Guy Whiskey", aged for a whole 30 days. I haven't tried this, though I know a couple of people who have. Reports are not encouraging.
Last month I posted this about two local guys who are planning to make rye whiskey. Their finances are stretched thin, and they're considering bottling it in as little as four months.
I've come to the conclusion that if anyone is going to properly age whiskey in this state, it's going to have to be me.