Giving each whiskey (and whisky) I try a final grade, but only after reaching the bottom of the bottle. After all, just one drink is never enough!
Saturday, June 11, 2016
Slaughter House American Whiskey
- 88 Proof
This is one of the more intriguing bottles I've grabbed off the shelf. It's interesting, because I've seen it plenty of times, but knew nothing about the product, and the label provides very little information as to what's inside, only that it's an American whiskey finished and bottled in Napa, California. There's no age statement on the bottle, and it doesn't even state what exactly it was finished in.
However, I happened to come across some article about craft whiskeys worth giving a try, and after learning more about this particular whiskey, I went to the liquor store for the sole purpose of grabbing a bottle of Slaughter House.
Slaughter House is the creation of a man named Dave Phinney. While I certainly didn't recognize his name, he is apparently well-known in the wine industry. I did, however, recognize the wine that he's most commonly associated with, "Prisoner" wine. I've enjoyed a bottle or two of this stuff myself. My interest was piqued on this basis alone.
Then I learned that Slaughter House is not a young whiskey, like so many craft whiskeys, but is actually aged for 9 years in oak barrels. After that, it is finished in Orion Swift Papillon barrels, a high end Bordeaux blend, and then bottled in the interesting and unassuming packaging and sold under a relatively odd name. Everything about this product sounded like something that I at least had to try at some point.
The whiskey has a slightly pink hue, something I've come to expect from wine barrel finished whiskeys. The nose is a fruity, nutty mix, primarily raspberry and pecan. So far so good.
I've never had a Bordeaux finished whiskey before, so I wasn't sure exactly what to expect. On my first sip I noticed a bit of a sour bite, like not quite ripe fruit, that I would need to get used to. Behind that initial sour note, however, was a great mix of plum and cherry with vanilla and bread notes behind it and on the finish. It was incredibly tasty, and I found myself regularly enjoying this bottle after dinner as my dessert.
The whiskey also has some serious legs. However, I didn't really notice as I was drinking it, but it was incredibly noticeable on the glass.
After that first pour, the sour bite up front went away completely, and the rest of the way it was a velvety smooth drink, providing the grain and vanilla flavors but complemented by the influence of a not-so-sweet red wine that added some great complexity and flavor and let the sweetness come from the grain.
If it weren't for that article, I may never have picked up a bottle of this stuff, and that would have been tragic. This is an excellent whiskey, well-aged, well-finished, and incredibly delicious. Mr. Phinney knows what he's doing, even when it comes to Whiskey.
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