What can I say, I’m from Colorado and I have embraced Stanahan’s Colorado Whiskey as a little piece of home I can take with me. The story of this whiskey is a great one and while I know it well, I will leave it up to the crew from the distillery to tell so please check out their website at www.stranahans.com.
Stranahan’s has become one of the craft whiskey successes from the United States and has made a name for itself world-wide. At one point the distillery was shipping nationally and internationally but demand overwhelmed limited production and a decision to cut back was made. In 2010 shipments outside of Colorado stopped and the only place you could get it was in the home state. In 2011 the distillery tripled its whiskey making capacity by adding two more stills and production has been nonstop. While there have been no official press releases, distribution to other states will begin again in a few short years (batches consist of barrels 2-5 years of age). Until then you will have to search for the whiskey via the internet or take a trip to Colorado. Stranahan’s has also partnered with Proximo Spirits which will hopefully help in its future distribution.
This first entry of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey is actually a combination of two batches. When I first started writing about my experiences I was uninformed about keeping track of batches. Luckily I kept the bottles of these two but made joint notes for them. Over the years I have come to learn the consistencies in the whiskey and appreciate the differences and let it be said, each batch is different!
Whiskey: Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey
Type- Single malt, small batch (notes from batches 29 [distilled 2006] and 52 [distilled 2007]), non-chill filtered, aged a minimum of 2 years, 47% ABV
Appearance: rich and dark full gold to old Sauternes with thick, slow-moving tears and no visible impurities.
Aroma: one might think with higher ABV this whiskey might be overpowered by alcohol, luckily it is not. Very sweet and almost a dessert in itself I can not stop nosing this one. Each breath brings a new aroma and it keeps wanting to give me more. A very evident citrus takes stage in the form of orange peel mixed with dried fruits. Raisin with a fleeting hint of dried fig dance on the nose while sweet continues to bleed into dark chocolate. Vanilla bridges the gap and I begin to find toasted almonds with hints of oak. I can not say the spices arrive at this point because I have been aware of their presence the entire time, but I am now focusing on them. Cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of freshly ground pepper are most evident but a slight hint of salt and fennel seed blanch the end.
Taste- a welcome and oily mouth feel hug the palate starting things off. I know this is a single malt, but it very much has the character of a bourbon. Sweet again envelopes the mouth. First to visit are the spices. Cinnamon is ripe, overshadowing a hint of nutmeg and the fennel seed in the nose has turned into full licorice. Vanilla kisses the flavors as it dances with cracked pepper and a dash of salt. The bourbon character shows as hints of corn come onto the palate with butter. As sweet flavors continue to develop they reveal themselves to be butterscotch and caramel with hints of brown sugar and dark chocolate. Big, full of flavor and character this is just as fun to drink as it is to nose.
Finish- This is where the alcohol finally makes an appearance making the finish just a bit acerbic. The medium finish is not tainted by the alcohol however and the sweet continues to follow suit. The malt finally makes an appearance and cookies can be found dabbed with chocolate. The chocolate is balanced with vanilla giving way to notes of oak and coconut.
Verdict- Must Have
I am biased concerning this dram, and as you can see by the picture I have been apart of their bottling crew and have bottled my own bottles! Even with those facts in mind I highly recommend this whiskey to anyone able to get theirs hands on it! It offers a complexity and character hard to find in other whiskeys. As each batches comes out there are evident similarities but it is the subtle differences which make sampling this one a nonstop thrill. I have had a number of the batches and will report on them as time marches on noting the differences and what is highlighted. If you do make it out to Colorado, stop by and see the crew, they are extremely friendly and will be happy to answer any questions about the whiskey. It is also worth taking the distillery tour and stopping off in the “The Rackhouse” for lunch or dinner!