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flahute

Woodinville Whiskey Co.

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flahute   
flahute

These guys have been around for about 5 1/2 years now I think. http://www.woodinvillewhiskeyco.com/

I've been pulling for them and watching closely because the distillery is only 7 miles down the road from my house.

 

They got their start with some mentorship from Dave Pickerell, but unlike others he has helped, they have never sourced any whiskey. They first brought to market their vodka and then micro barreled bourbon and rye. The plan has been to graduate to 53 gallon barrels and proper age so the micro barrels are a bridge to that. I've not been a fan of the micro barrel whiskey so I've been waiting for the proper stuff which was finally released last fall at 5 years of age and 90 proof. I liked it. I tried their American Whiskey last night and was surprised that I liked it also (80 proof, no age statement, aged in lightly charred barrels and then additional aging in used barrels). It didn't taste young, and while not complex it brought some strong caramel flavors. 

 

I haven't heard yet if full size barrel aged rye is coming this year or if we'll get a 6 year old bourbon, but I'm happy to see what these guys are accomplishing. They have a strong following locally which will allow them to continue their growth. 

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Prof_Stack   
Prof_Stack

Their 5-year bourbon, done in the big barrels, is GREAT.  I've got the American Whiskey but haven't opened it yet.  Pretty much all WA ingredients and such.  Aged in Eastern WA where there are 4 seasons, unlike in Woodinville/Seattle.

 

I'm also hoping for a 5-year rye.

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Harry in WashDC   
Harry in WashDC

My brother-in-law called me tonight re: an upcoming family visit.  He mentioned he was drinking bourbon.  This surprised me; he's a Pilsner Urquell person, and no more than 2 a night at most.  I asked, "What bourbon?"  "Woodinville," he answered.  Maybe we got a convert.  We'll see in a month or so.

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flahute   
flahute
On 5/23/2016 at 8:38 PM, Harry in WashDC said:

My brother-in-law called me tonight re: an upcoming family visit.  He mentioned he was drinking bourbon.  This surprised me; he's a Pilsner Urquell person, and no more than 2 a night at most.  I asked, "What bourbon?"  "Woodinville," he answered.  Maybe we got a convert.  We'll see in a month or so.

Does he live out here Harry? I'm not aware of how far their distribution goes.

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Harry in WashDC   
Harry in WashDC
11 hours ago, flahute said:

Does he live out here Harry? I'm not aware of how far their distribution goes.

He's near Chicago.  He's also averse to trying ANYTHING new so this was a real surprise.  If Binny's had a few bottles, he may have picked one up because a salesman recommended it.  For context, if somebody said, "It's just like Pappy," he'd ask, "Pappy who?"

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flahute   
flahute
7 hours ago, Harry in WashDC said:

He's near Chicago.  He's also averse to trying ANYTHING new so this was a real surprise.  If Binny's had a few bottles, he may have picked one up because a salesman recommended it.  For context, if somebody said, "It's just like Pappy," he'd ask, "Pappy who?"

Ah, that makes sense. You just triggered a memory by mentioning Binny's I remember reading on Woodinville's website that Binny's is the one place to get the bourbon outside Washington.

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mbroo5880i   
mbroo5880i

 

Chicago is often one of the early release locations for a lot of products.  Binny's is one of the best liquor store chains in the country.  

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MandyLea   
MandyLea

I just stopped by here on Tuesday as I was traveling through. Didn't get to do the tour as they only do them on weekends but I did do a tasting. I liked it, although I don't think it really compared to some of the stuff I tried in Kentucky. That's just my young tongue speaking though! Of course, I did bring some home anyway so I'll make Gregg give it a taste as well!

IMG_3163.jpg

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flahute   
flahute
19 hours ago, MandyLea said:

I just stopped by here on Tuesday as I was traveling through. Didn't get to do the tour as they only do them on weekends but I did do a tasting. I liked it, although I don't think it really compared to some of the stuff I tried in Kentucky. That's just my young tongue speaking though! Of course, I did bring some home anyway so I'll make Gregg give it a taste as well!

IMG_3163.jpg

I hope you did some wine tasting while here as well. Some really great ones within walking distance of the distillery.

 

You are correct, Woodinville is not quite at the level of most Kentucky distilleries. Their product is only 5 years old whereas most of the Kentucky bourbons we love are 6,7 years + old. The Woodinville product needs one or two years more to really come into its own I think. It's not far off though, and that's pretty exciting for a distillery in Washington State that just got started.

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Kpiz   
Kpiz

Great thread. I'm also rooting for these guys. I did a couple long consulting stints up in Seattle, the first being in 2011, and visited them a few times while I was working/living up there. The first time I went to the distillery I had a hard time finding it because it was pretty much an unmarked suite behind a quiet parking lot. They've done a hell of a lot with the place! (at least judging from the picture above). I briefly met one of the co-founders and I believe his mother-in-law, who was running the tasting table at the time. Both were very nice folks. We did the tour, which consisted of my friend and I, and they let us try the distillate coming right off the still - I thought that was really cool and it made a lasting impression on me. I still have a bottle of their rye, which was probably bottled >3 years ago. I'll have to look for their 5yr bourbon the next time I'm in Seattle.

 

Also, I've mentioned this elsewhere on SB.com, but I remember their vodka being incredible. It had this tremendous butterscotch flavor that made it very sippable. It was much more like a really good white dog than vodka.

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flahute   
flahute
2 hours ago, Kpiz said:

Great thread. I'm also rooting for these guys. I did a couple long consulting stints up in Seattle, the first being in 2011, and visited them a few times while I was working/living up there. The first time I went to the distillery I had a hard time finding it because it was pretty much an unmarked suite behind a quiet parking lot. They've done a hell of a lot with the place! (at least judging from the picture above). I briefly met one of the co-founders and I believe his mother-in-law, who was running the tasting table at the time. Both were very nice folks. We did the tour, which consisted of my friend and I, and they let us try the distillate coming right off the still - I thought that was really cool and it made a lasting impression on me. I still have a bottle of their rye, which was probably bottled >3 years ago. I'll have to look for their 5yr bourbon the next time I'm in Seattle.

 

Also, I've mentioned this elsewhere on SB.com, but I remember their vodka being incredible. It had this tremendous butterscotch flavor that made it very sippable. It was much more like a really good white dog than vodka.

They moved down the road a bit into a new from the ground up facility built just for them. It's a very nice building and a lot different (and larger) than the humble little warehouse suite they were in. 

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Kpiz   
Kpiz
On 5/27/2016 at 6:39 PM, flahute said:

They moved down the road a bit into a new from the ground up facility built just for them. It's a very nice building and a lot different (and larger) than the humble little warehouse suite they were in. 

Thanks for the info, Steve. I liked the humble little warehouse but I'm sure the upgrade was due. I'll have to get up there and check it out.

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TLH-Mike   
TLH-Mike

My good friend from Washington state brought a bottle of this to me here in Florida when he and his wife came to visit recently. I look forward to trying it. 

 

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TLH-Mike   
TLH-Mike

I tried some last night.  First impression was an oak and caramel bomb went off on my tongue, very strong and surprisingly complex favors.   Will try some again over the holiday weekend.  

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flahute   
flahute
3 hours ago, TLH-Mike said:

I tried some last night.  First impression was an oak and caramel bomb went off on my tongue, very strong and surprisingly complex favors.   Will try some again over the holiday weekend.  

Thanks for the report. Good to hear that someone outside the area likes it. 

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TLH-Mike   
TLH-Mike

OK, have since tried it again, neat and with my usual, Coke Zero.  It's good either way, leaving it to breath for a bit helped, but the oakiness of it never really left.  Not bad, but not super stellar either, just different which I'm ok with.  Will likely slowly nurse this bottle till it's gone.  Would be curious to see there newer expressions that have aged longer in larger barrels.....thanks, Mike

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Kpiz   
Kpiz
11 hours ago, flahute said:

And another one falls. (Is sold).

 

http://whiskyadvocate.com/glenmorangie-and-ardbeg-parent-company-buys-woodinville-whisky-co/

 

Purchased by Moet Hennessy.

 

Wow. I didn't think they were producing enough whiskey to make them an acquisition target. Sounds like MH sees potential to increase production and distribution.

 

It's always slightly saddening to see one of the little guys get scooped up by one of the big players. Hopefully they don't change much (or anything) in terms of production methods.

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flahute   
flahute
3 hours ago, Kpiz said:

 

Wow. I didn't think they were producing enough whiskey to make them an acquisition target. Sounds like MH sees potential to increase production and distribution.

 

It's always slightly saddening to see one of the little guys get scooped up by one of the big players. Hopefully they don't change much (or anything) in terms of production methods.

I've been told they may look to expand the facility which points to a desire to increase production and distribution.

If anything comes out of this acquisition, I hope it's a little more age on the bourbon.

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Kpiz   
Kpiz
5 minutes ago, flahute said:

I've been told they may look to expand the facility which points to a desire to increase production and distribution.

If anything comes out of this acquisition, I hope it's a little more age on the bourbon.

 

A little more age certainly couldn't hurt. I don't follow the distillery as much as I used to since we don't get their products down here and it's been a little while since I've been up to Seattle, but it seems like the age was already heading in the right direction.

 

It's interesting to think about scaling-up bourbon production. Simple in theory but it seems like there are many decisions that could potentially affect flavor, such as whether to buy more stills or larger stills, grain sourcing, etc. Of course, I don't know what percent of capacity they're currently operating at, so maybe it's as simple as expanding distillery operating hours.

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flahute   
flahute
On 7/13/2017 at 2:10 PM, Kpiz said:

 

A little more age certainly couldn't hurt. I don't follow the distillery as much as I used to since we don't get their products down here and it's been a little while since I've been up to Seattle, but it seems like the age was already heading in the right direction.

 

It's interesting to think about scaling-up bourbon production. Simple in theory but it seems like there are many decisions that could potentially affect flavor, such as whether to buy more stills or larger stills, grain sourcing, etc. Of course, I don't know what percent of capacity they're currently operating at, so maybe it's as simple as expanding distillery operating hours.

This evening I participated in the first ever barrel pick at Woodinville Whiskey. It will be a barrel proof pick for a local store that I frequent.

While there, I asked about the purchase and potential expansion plans. In the near term, all they need to do is add fermenters as that is the current logjam. The still is not yet at capacity. With added fermenters, they could scale up the still to 24/7.

Currently they produce 8 barrels a day. 

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BourbonDude   
BourbonDude
On 5/22/2016 at 11:07 PM, Prof_Stack said:

Their 5-year bourbon, done in the big barrels, is GREAT.  I've got the American Whiskey but haven't opened it yet.  Pretty much all WA ingredients and such.  Aged in Eastern WA where there are 4 seasons, unlike in Woodinville/Seattle.

 

I'm also hoping for a 5-year rye.

This is good news. I look forward to trying it.

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Kpiz   
Kpiz
This evening I participated in the first ever barrel pick at Woodinville Whiskey. It will be a barrel proof pick for a local store that I frequent.
While there, I asked about the purchase and potential expansion plans. In the near term, all they need to do is add fermenters as that is the current logjam. The still is not yet at capacity. With added fermenters, they could scale up the still to 24/7.
Currently they produce 8 barrels a day. 


Thanks for asking about their expansion capabilities. Fermenters probably aren't cheap but I have to imagine that's a much better scenario than having to increase still capacity.

A Woodinville barrel pick! Any more details you can provide about the process or tasting notes on the barrel you picked would be much appreciated.

Also, Woodinville is having an event where you can taste two different barrels (either bourbon or rye depending upon which you sign up for) and then fill your own bottle of your preference. Not as cool as being able to select a whole barrel, but a good idea that will surely appeal to their local fans http://www.woodinvillewhiskeyco.com/journal/new-product-release-events/

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flahute   
flahute
On 8/23/2017 at 8:26 AM, Kpiz said:

 


Thanks for asking about their expansion capabilities. Fermenters probably aren't cheap but I have to imagine that's a much better scenario than having to increase still capacity.

A Woodinville barrel pick! Any more details you can provide about the process or tasting notes on the barrel you picked would be much appreciated.

Also, Woodinville is having an event where you can taste two different barrels (either bourbon or rye depending upon which you sign up for) and then fill your own bottle of your preference. Not as cool as being able to select a whole barrel, but a good idea that will surely appeal to their local fans http://www.woodinvillewhiskeyco.com/journal/new-product-release-events/

 

This being there first ever private pick, I was curious how they would set it up. Short answer is: they were exemplary hosts.

One of the partner/distillers tasted through about 20 barrels and picked 5 that he really liked. Those were brought over from the warehouses in eastern Washington and were on premises. 

They had 5 glencairns set up for each person and let us take turns using the whiskey thief to partially fill a pitcher which he then used to fill the glencairns. 

Each barrel was slightly older than 5 years. He estimated the barrel proof of each to be in the low 120's.

Fun facts: Woodinville bourbon has a mash bill of 72/22/6. This was the first time I've heard the mash bill disclosed and I was surprised they were that high in rye. Their proof off the still is 140 and their barrel entry proof is 110. Pretty cool.

My only criticism of Woodinville's standard 90 proof 'small batch' is that it has a wet cardboard taste that I associate with bourbon that's a bit too young. 2 of the barrels had this flavor, 1 only had it slightly, and the other 2 didn't have it at all. As a group, we individually decided to eliminate the 2 that had the flavor. It ultimately came down to the 2 that didn't have the flavor and our decision for the selected barrel was unanimous. (I was the last to decide and when I revealed my choice I discovered that the other three tasters had made the same choice). So, we didn't talk about it and convince each other - we all came to the same conclusion. That's pretty cool.

The one we chose had classic bourbon flavors to my palate. With that many samples to go through at barrel proof, who knows how well the palate was tasting (though I know from my personal history of barrel picking that I've never made a bad choice. Some barrels just end up surprising a little when they come in.) 

What I can tell you is that this barrel shined at both barrel proof and with water added. One of the barrels that seemed like the best at the first taste (at full strength) did not fare as well with water added. Most of us don't drink at full proof because it burns out the taste buds too fast so how it fared with some water added was important. 

The more of it I drank, the more I liked it. Very pleased to have this distillery just 8 miles down the road from my house making great bourbon.

 

When the bottles come in, I'll taste it on a clean palate and give you more details. Also, I'd be happy to pick up one or more for you and send them to you.

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Paddy   
Paddy

Nice report Steve.  I know if was a tough job, but..................;)

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