Saturday, October 31, 2015

Wigle Whiskey Tasting Notes

Totally unrelated to gaming, except inasmuch as it has become traditional for certain of my players to show up to ACKS hungover.

Wigle Whiskey (not to be confused with WiGLE) is a Pittsburgh distillery named after Phillip Wigle, a local hero(?) of the Whiskey Rebellion.  Anything having to do with liquor is a bureaucratic nightmare in Pennsylvania these days (what with the state Liquor Control Board's monopoly), so Wigle is one of just a handful of distilleries (well, legal ones) in what used to be a very still-heavy part of the country.  They had a free tasting last night, so being a whiskey drinker of unsophisticated palate, I decided to go try their goods.

After a bit of a wait in the cold, I tried the following things (in roughly the following order, so it might be expected that things I tried later have slightly less accurate reviews):
  • Landlocked Spiced: Landlocked is a honey spirit that has been compared to rum.  I rather like honey spirits (eg Bushmill's Honey Whiskey, with Barenjager on my to-try list), and this one was OK but not amazing.  Tasted a bit flowery almost?  From their notes, I was probably getting too much vanilla over the honey, which is not what I was hoping for.
  • Small-Batch Maple Wheat Whiskey (which I'm not seeing on their online store, curiously): Wheat whiskey aged in charred oak barrels with maple staves, if I recall correctly.  I went through an "mmm, tastes like drinking a tree" phase a year or two ago, and this is representative of that style in the best possible way.  Not to my current tastes, but if that's what you're into, probably pretty good.
  • Walkabout Apple Whiskey: Wheat and rye whiskeys, barrel-aged, blended, and cut from cask strength using local cider rather than water.  A promising premise, but there was definitely a discordant note that threw things off for me; I'm not sure if it was the rye or the woodiness from the barrel aging or something else, but something did not combine well with the apple flavor.  Not a fan, but it's an experimental on their parts so I think we'll see further refinements in future.
  • Landlocked Clear: I know, you're supposed to mix clear spirits, but this was pretty good.  An unapologetic, uncomplicated honey spirit, would probably blend well with apple flavors.
  • Straight Wheat Whiskey: One of their flagship whiskeys, and quite good - not as sweet as a corny bourbon, not as woody as a Tree In A Barrel, nicely balanced, tasty.
On my way out I ran into some friends in line who decided that the wait wasn't worth it, and we went and got thai food while I metabolized before driving home.  So that all worked out rather well.

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