A while back, around last Christmas, I received a bottle of Wyoming Whiskey’s Outryder (article here) and found it to be a delightful cross between rye and bourbon and straight whiskey. Well, it just so happens that those spirited cowboys from Wyoming actually bottle a number of different whiskies and they have sent me two more to taste; small batch and single barrel.
Wyoming Whiskey is an independent, family owned distillery in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming. The Mead family, Wyoming ranchers since 1890, founded Wyoming Whiskey in 2009 in Kirby, Wyoming. And so, you might rightly ask, just exactly what do Wyoming ranchers know about making whiskey? Well, they know enough to use locally grown corn, wheat, barley and rye with no GMOS as well as water from the Madison Formation, a limestone aquifer that is millions of years old and gives the whiskey a unique texture and minerality. They also know how to select their hired hands. Among a host of qualified folks is Steve Nally who spent 33 years distilling for Maker’s Mark and was inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2007.
Well, they have the ingredients, know how and help to produce some interesting spirits so let’s see how these two taste. We’ll start with the small batch bourbon whiskey. This whiskey is aged in new charred white oak barrels for a rumored 5 years (there’s no age statement on the bottle) and is the resultant mixture of around 40 barrels. The whiskey itself is a pale amber. The nose, immediately upon opening the bottle, is a bit astringent but that dissipates very quickly leaving behind a beautiful butterscotch aroma mixed in with a creamy caramel. On the palate I immediately get a taste of oak followed by apricots, caramel and cinnamon. The finish is sweet and a bit spicy leaving a taste of dark toffee and butterscotch and lasts a medium amount of time. All of these flavors work very well with each other with none of them getting in the way of one another. Another sweet thing about this whiskey is the price point of just around $40.00. At that price you have yourself one helluva deal.
Next up is the single barrel whiskey. Each barrel is selected for its singular character and taste and yields about 220 bottles per barrel. It is the exact same color as the small batch; a pale amber. Even though both are 88 proof this single barrel features the aroma of alcohol upfront far more pronounced than the small batch. This quickly fades away leaving the smell of dark cherries, cola, caramel, vanilla and butterscotch. The palate is slightly spicy and features oak, cherries, citrus and a noticeable hint of minerality. The finish is long, moderately spicy with traces of sweetened citrus and oak. This single barrel is more intensely flavorful than the small batch with the flavors more pronounced and distinct. For the few dollars more you get a whole lot more flavor.
The small batch bourbon whiskey can be found for around $42.99 to $50.00 per 750ML bottle and is 88 proof while the single barrel whiskey is $55.00 to $69.99 per 750ML bottle and it is also 88 proof.
By George Brozowski