You may recall last year I picked up Woodinville’s White dog aging kit to test test run as a novelty experiment. My apologies for the delay, but I now have the results from the experiment which ran from May 2011 until late December 2011 (my notes got buried on my desk).
Woodinville’s White dog bourbon mash was barreled at 110 proof on May 22, 2011. I tasted at various times, frequently at first, then tapering off later, but averaging about a taste every 6 weeks. On December 27th, 2011 I determined that no more time would benefit the whiskey and bottled it up. Following are the tasting notes I took down on Dec 27th after 7 months of aging:
- Nose: Heavy on the mash notes still. Corn followed by the expected mild caramel notes imparted from wood aging. Balanced sweetness as I have come to expect from bourbons.
- Flavour: Immediate oak and hard tannins, followed by caramel and a jarring shift into the corn mash. Heat all the way through with a trail of bitterness.
- Finish: Fades from the distinct mash notes into caramel again, finally ending on a bitterness either remaining from the early raw/vegetative mash or imparted directly from the barrel itself.
- Extraneous notes: Not a whiskey I will enjoy drinking straight. Even after 7 months in the barrel, the bitterness on the finish still stuck around and makes this dram less than enjoyable. I have noted, however, that as an aged spirit, it mixes quite well with cola for a surprisingly delightful cocktail. A solid B grade if used to mix.
After being relatively disappointed with the results, I dove in to some ideas for a second use of the barrel. My third use will be for barrel aging cocktails, likely Manhattans, but I still needed a second run distillate. Luckily, I happened upon House Spirits’ White dog whiskey bottled only at 100 proof, but made with 100% malted barley, ah, just what I was looking for…
But that’s a story for another day.
Week 16 came and passed without an update on the whiskey sitting in the barrel I got as part of Woodinville’s “Age your own whiskey” kit. But can you blame me? I mean, there’s been a lot going on with the 3DC, especially as we ramp up into our annual tasting at “Great Western War” (the SCA event in Bakersfield, Ca.).
Have no fear, just because the weeks have come and gone does not mean I missed taking a sample of the distillate. I did indeed take notes, and even pictures to provide you all an update as to how the baby whiskey is maturing in the 1.7 liter oak barrel. The first round of tasting notes after weeks 1, 2, and 3 can be found here if you missed them, or just want to come up to speed for comparison. The initial setup, etc. can be found here.
Woodinville White dog, Aged 16 weeks in new American Oak.
(Casked on May 30th, 2011. Sampled Sept. 11th, 2011)
- Nose: All alcohol. Expected for a 130 proof distillate. Caramel follows the initial shock, the if you can push through, there is a distinct corn mash of the original distillate.
- Flavor: Chewier mouthfeel than prior tastes. No longer think and watery, but now shows great body and an oiliness expected from a proper bourbon/whiskey. The pallate is still very distillate heavy, but is showing more promise with a far heavier caramel body, though it is followed by a disappointing bitterness.
- Finish: Caramel, with an increasing bitterness with every taste. Like a vegetable with all the sugars removed.
- Viscosity: 4
- Boldness: 4
- Length of Story: 2
- Personal taste: C
- Extraneous notes: Dramatically different from earlier tastes, but still not ‘good’. Needs more time on the oak to mute or remove the bitter after notes. Looking to revisit in late November or December.
Overall, I’m not exactly disappointed, but not overly pleased either. I am hopeful that more time on the oak will help it mellow out further and become something worthwhile. Otherwise, I’ll have to admit defeat, bottle it up, and move on to a different distillate to see how a second round fairs. That, of course, means finding a better raw distillate to work with, with means testing some cask ready samples from various distillers. Oh the pains I go to for this hobby 😉