The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2018

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Page 84 of 124

84  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2018 REPORT whiskey Humanity likes pushing the boundaries in whatever we do, and with how quickly modern technology is progressing, some of these advancements seem to unfold at the speed of light. It may not come as much of a surprise, then, that a California start-up named Endless West recently announced that it's been synthesizing whiskey in a lab. Is this the future of the spirits industry? Maybe we're overly optimistic, but we're going to go out on a hopeful limb and say no. What consumers love about the spirits in their glasses is more than just flavor compounds meticulously combined in a sterile environment: You might not be able to articulate exactly which flavor notes or components directly speak to the work that went into farming, distilling, fermenting, aging, and blending a whiskey, but that effort is unmistakably present in every bottle. In short, nothing can replace the passion of the people behind the hundreds of labels that make up the category, and the whiskies highlighted in this report prove that even in today's fast-paced world, tradition can still outmaneuver the latest fads when it comes to quality and taste. Leading the Charge: Dry Fly Distilling Dry Fly Distilling opened its Spokane facility in 2007, paving the way for craft distilling in Washington State by working with legislators to develop an industry- specific license. Dry Fly's founders sought to give a platform to local growers and producers, and the distillery still maintains this vision by using 99 percent Washington-grown ingredients, including grains from family-owned farms located within 30 miles of the distillery. The team at Dry Fly produces their entire portfolio without sourcing liquid from other distilleries. While the company primarily utilizes white winter wheat, it also incorporates barley, red corn, and triticale—a wheat-rye hybrid that originated in Scotland—in its mash bills. The Straight Triticale ($40) was the first commercially available whis- key to use this wheat strain, while the Straight Bourbon ($50) features 60% red corn from a Hutterian settle- ment near Reardan, Washington. To age its whiskeys, Dry Fly sources its 53-gallon new American oak barrels from the Independent Stave Company. A tribute to the Pacific Northwest, Dry Fly's whiskies highlight the terroir and innovative spirit of the region. tasting notes Dry Fly Straight Bourbon 101 Aged for four years and coming in at 101 proof, this spirit exudes sweet butterscotch aro- mas painted with summer peach, walnut shell, and oatmeal. The initial sip lights up the palate with an effect of burnt orange peel and marshmallow, and as the alcohol dissipates slowly, it adjusts to show a leather-oak spice that glides on the tongue. Pekoe tea notes linger on the finish and marry with apricot nectar. 96 —Meridith May Dry Fly Straight Triticale Whiskey This hybrid of wheat and rye aged four years shows a surge of white pepper and stone fruit on the nose with echoing aromatics of caramel-coated ripe red apple and peanut. Unctuous and generous, this 90-proof spirit coats the palate with wheat bread, coffee-cedar, and bright tones of tangerine and new leather. With a textural dreaminess on the finish, it lengthens with a lean note of minerality that's similar to the sensation of sipping black tea. 96 —M.M. DRY FLY DISTILLING heart at the of it of it A SHOWCASE OF WHISKIES CURRENTLY BUILDING ON THE TRADITIONS OF THE CATEGORY by Emily Coleman

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