Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Coors Whiskey Co. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
With persistence, planning, and an expanded company mindset towards alcoholic beverages, fifth generation David Coors expanded the family business into whiskey. The first outward hint of a change occurred in 2020 when the company swapped “Brewing” for “Beverage” to become the Molson Coors Beverage Company. The company released its first whiskey in 2021. 2022 marks their second release, from batch number 002CWC22-A, which was launched in October.
The whiskey is a blend of three bourbons, sourced from Kentucky and Indiana, and a single malt whiskey. It is a blend of 51% four-year-old wheat-heavy bourbon from Indiana, 36% four-year-old four-grain bourbon from Kentucky, 8% six-year-old Colorado single malt, and 5% 12-year-old corn-heavy bourbon from Kentucky. The single malt is made from High Country Barley from Coors’ malthouse in Golden, Colorado.
Not having spent much time in Colorado, admittedly at my loss here folks, I had to Google “High Country;” it’s another term for the High Rockies and includes some of the most rugged terrain in the state. Presumably this is where the barley is grown, but the only definitive statement from the producer is that the single malt is Coloradan. The percentages are a slight departure from the first release, which included 15% Colorado single malt and won several awards including a double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
The four whiskeys are blended and bottled by Coors Whiskey Co. in Bardstown, Kentucky, using water from the Rocky Mountains to cut to proof. It is made in partnership with the Bardstown Bourbon Company (BBC). BBC works with over 25 producers at various stages, including custom distilling, blending, and aging. Coors Whiskey Co. also produces a barrel proof version of this batch (at 59.5% ABV), a cask finish series (a different blend that was finished in Imperial Porter barrels), and a small batch release (composed of the oldest whiskeys, including an 8-year-old Colorado Single Malt).
The producer’s tasting note suggests that this offers notes of nuts, caramel, sugar cookies, and various spice and herb aromas. It sounds like it will be a pretty straightforward bourbon-esque drink. Let’s explore.
Tasting Notes: Coors Whiskey Co. Five Trail Blended American Whiskey
Vital Stats: A blend of one Colorado single malt and three straight bourbons. Bottled at 47.5% ABV, Mash bill: two-row barley malt and undisclosed other grains, SRP $59.99/ 750ml bottle.
Appearance: Pale mahogany with golden undertone.
Nose: This initially offers up a warming sensation on the nose I attribute to the alcohol content that mutes the intensity of the aromatics. There are notes of fresh pastries, red apples, and roses. It builds into a strong, smoky note like a freshly extinguished candle. There’s a nice blend of citrus and spice like clove-studded dried oranges. The grain side offers up notes of cherry pie, raw yeast, and warm wheat bread. Aromatically, this is satisfying, if not mind-blowing.
Palate: Here’s that warm candle wax note again that opens into lush vanilla and cola spices. There’s a strong yeasty note that I find a little unpleasant in its intensity. The body is moderate viscosity and a hint of grippy tannins. The finish is mildly peppery and bitter, with notes of dried vanilla pods and cherries. It’s mild enough without any sharp elbows to be a component or star of a cocktail and was excellent in eggnog. It is, true to its Coors Banquet roots, decidedly inoffensive.
Whiskey Review: Coors Whiskey Co. Five Trail 2022
As someone who works part time with an organization that emphasizes reducing water use in the wine industry, I’m curious as to the environmental impact of trucking Rocky Mountain water to Kentucky. Which also makes me curious about the point of this endeavor as a whole.
Will they take the step many beers brewers take and begin distilling and aging their own whiskey? Is Coors eventually planning on increasing the amount of Colorado single malt in the blend (we are only two releases in, and the second release saw the amount almost halved)? Or is this the end goal? If so, it’s not disappointing, but it’s also not thrilling. And for $60, I’d rather be thrilled.
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Suzanne Bayard struck out to the West Coast with her now husband almost a decade ago to explore the intersection of wine and policy in its world-class wine regions. She manages a Portland, OR bottle shop by day as the wine buyer and newsletter editor. She is also the Director...