Since 2012, family-run Napa Valley wine powerhouse and dynasty Trinchero Family Estates (TFE) branched out into spirits. Amador Whiskey Co., not to be confused with Amador Distillery, is entirely owned and created by TFE, headquartered in the heart of California’s wine mecca, St. Helena, Napa Valley.
Started 70 years ago by Mario Trinchero and still in the family, TFE’s wine portfolio includes household names Sutter Home, Menage a Trois, and Joel Gott, plus many others. Expertise in wine provides an intriguing perspective to the company’s spirit offerings. For Amador Distilling Co., whiskey is all about the barrel. They make only two whiskies, and both are aged in wine barrels. This includes Ten Barrels, aged in Trinchero family Chardonnay oak barrels, and Double Barrel, sourced Kentucky bourbon aged for anywhere from 3 to 10 years in new, charred American oak barrels, and then finished with six months in Napa Valley wine barrels (varietal not specified). The latter is the focus of this review.
Vital Stats: This spirit is 86.8 proof, 43.4% alcohol by volume and retails for $42. It’s Kentucky bourbon, aged in “new charred American oak barrels,” and then finished in Napa Valley wine barrels. Though it is a non vintage barreling, the purchased bourbon was aged between three and 10 years.
Appearance: Rusty in hue and brightly orange to amber, the whiskey looks flaxen and sappy, with slow, close together legs.
Nose: Top notes of buttery biscuits, Bisquick, and vanilla, intermingle pleasantly with spicy cinnamon and salt water taffy. Coffee and a slight marigold floral hint underly.
Palate: Immediately spicy, with a sharp, almost tannic lingering finish, this whiskey is bold. Sweet kettlecorn, cinnamon, vanilla, and raisin notes are present, but most intriguing is a lightly floral, marigold and a pretty note of saffron. A well integrated puff of smoke, not a char, also deserves a mention. Spice, cocoa, and saffron create a nice balance, not overwhelming.
I usually pride myself on the ability to separate wine barrel notes from whiskey notes in this style, but separating these qualities is nearly impossible in the Amador Double Barrel. It is too nicely integrated and thoughtfully complex. Delicious!