I usually try to avoid plagiarizing anyone but this description of Rogue Single Malt Whiskey is too good not to pass on and it comes directly from the Rogue website: “Oregon Single Malt Whiskey is plowed, disced, harrowed, seeded, fed, watered, threshed, winnowed, malted, milled, mashed, fermented, distilled, smithed, barrel-aged and bottled by hand. When you grow it, you know it.”

Since 1987, Rogue Spirits has been producing award winning beers throughout Oregon and has expanded into California and Washington. They added spirits to their rather extensive offering of craft brews and now also offer vodka, gin, whiskey, rye and rum. This particular Whiskey is made from barley, and as you probably already know, scotch is made from barley, and even though there’s more to it than just that, I’m wondering if this American barley whiskey is going to taste anything like scotch? Besides, 12% of the malt used in this whiskey is hand smoked using alder and maple chips, and on top of that, this whiskey is ocean aged in American oak barrels for at least 2 years.


Well, let’s open the bottle and give it a go. The bottle is tall and clear with the word Rogue boldly displayed at the top in white letters and sports a yellow star through the “O”. The whiskey can be plainly seen and appears to look like a light scotch or whiskey. The nose is floral, salty, smoky and almost smells like scotch, almost. On the palate, it comes a bit closer to a scotch. It is smoky and salty with a hint of brown sugar and cinnamon and peach and just a touch of honey. The finish is similar to the palate but really emphasizes the salt and smoke and oak and yet is very smooth and lasts a medium amount of time.

This is definitely not scotch because of all the other non-scotch like flavors that float around in it, but it is a really flavorful barley based whiskey. I especially like the saltiness combined with the oak and that sweet smokiness; it really works for me. It seems to live somewhere between whiskey and scotch and that actually just might be a really good niche to inhabit. I’ll bet they can attract whiskey fans from both of those opposite worlds and make them pretty darn happy living in the middle. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that it has a rather unique stopper attached to the neck of the bottle that seals it very tightly between pours. But don’t let that stop you from pouring a glass and enjoying it.

Rogue Oregon Single Malt Whiskey can be found from around $35.00 to $48.00 and is 80 proof or 40% ABV.


By George Brozowski