When the guys up at Dry Fly aren’t out fly fishing in the Gallatin River near Spokane Washington, they’re making small batch spirits in a sustainable way using locally grown grains. Their spirits range from Vodka to Gin and whiskey and, of course, their 101 Bourbon. Now, normally if you want to produce a great spirit, you can age it forever or dilute it to get it as smooth as possible – none of which these folks have anything to do with. They age this bourbon for three years and up the ante by serving it at 101 proof.

Not only do they cut across the grain with the way they produce this bourbon, they innovate by using a combination of 60% corn, 20% unmalted wheat and 20% barley. That ain’t the way they make bourbon in Kentucky, but just maybe, that’s a good thing. Let’s give this Bourbon 101 the taste test and see what the fuss is all about.


The color is a deep amber, and the nose is an earthy, oaky, fruity mélange with vanilla overtones and sweet honey but very little in the way of ethanol vapors. It is an absolute delight to inhale the aroma. The first thing I notice in taking a sip is the smoothness of such a high proof spirit. Then I taste the peppery, fruity, oaky, toffee, salty and sweet fig like palate. It’s complex and deep enough to make it very intriguing without muddying up the flavors. There’s so much going on here, yet it seems like every distinct and different flavor waits its turn to impress rather than stepping on or over another flavor. The finish is peppery enough to make it interesting without making it hurt and continues to impress with a taste of green apples, butter, cherries and chocolate and lasts a medium amount of time. This is a very impressive bourbon with lots of flavor and character and depth and quality, and it wasn’t even made in or near Kentucky; go figure.

This bourbon busts through some of those old wives tales and proves that quality bourbon doesn’t have to come from Tennessee or Kentucky any more than great wine has to come from France. The new breed of American distillers are taking their art and science to new heights that know no geographical boundaries. Do yourself a favor and try this Dryfly Washington Bourbon 101; your taste buds will thank you.

A 750 ML bottle of Washington Bourbon 101 can run you anywhere from $46.00 to $90.00 averaging $65.00 per bottle, and of course, it is 101 proof.


by George Brozowski