The micro-distillery movement is great. That there would be so many small distilleries in America making--well, anything--I never would have predicted. No one is more amazed than I am and no one is more delighted.
As whiskey enthusiasts, our prime directive is to try as many different whiskeys as we can. That's who we are. That's what we do. So naturally when a new whiskey comes along, regardless of its source, we want to try it, or at least learn a little more about it.
Which is why I want to advise my fellow whiskey enthusiasts, with regard to micro-distilleries, and in the immortal words of Larry David, curb your enthusiasm. The micro-distillers would like you to believe, and some of them actually believe this themselves, that they came right out of the box making products that are superior to those made by the majors. They didn't and they aren't.
In the case of whiskey in particular, what you have is simply a very limited range and the limitation is age. Some interesting things are being done with ages ranging from five minutes to about two years, but that's it. There is very little out there that is older than two years and it shows.
I'm not talking about the High West Rendezvous Rye, or High West BourRye, or Templeton Rye, or Angel's Envy Bourbon, or WhistlePig Rye, which were all made by majors and just bottled and sold by little guys.
In terms of the actual micro-distilled products out there, they're all just very young. Despite what some people say, nobody has figured out how to speed up the aging process.
This is not to say there is no merit in these young whiskeys. There is a lot of merit in many of them, but relative to what we're used to as whiskey drinkers, they're all too young. That's just the reality of what these guys are trying to do.
The other reality is that they are all going to be too expensive for what they are. That's also in the nature of the exercise. Whether or not they're "worth it" is something only you can decide.
So by "curb your enthusiasm," I don't mean "forget about it." What I mean is "don't expect too much." Enjoy these products for what they are and feel good about supporting someone's dream.