Whiskey Review: Grand Teton Malt Whiskey

, | March 6, 2022

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Grand Teton Distillery. 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.

Grand Teton Distillery couldn’t ask for a better location. Their distillery in Driggs, Idaho, is situated on the Yellowstone-Grand Teton Scenic Loop which connects the Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks with the ecotourism hub of Jackson Hole. The scenic location does not mean that they are hurting for local flavor. According to their website, they produce their wide array of spirits from regional ingredients, including a vodka made from Idaho potatoes and pure glacier water, and an offering in the emerging category of American single malts. 

Single malt is most widely associated with Scotland and Ireland, though it has been embraced by Japanese, French, and other world distilling traditions. In recent years, American distillers have begun to explore the single malt category (meaning a whiskey produced from 100% malted barley at a single distillery). Because the category is still young here, and the United States is a very large country, boasting numerous distilling traditions, there is not yet a consistent definition for the category. There are, however, organized efforts to establish a commercially comprehensible, and legally relevant standard definition.

For the present moment, consumers must rely on the information distillers provide in order to understand the juice behind the label. Fortunately, Grand Teton is forthcoming with details about their Grand Teton Malt Whiskey. The spirit is double distilled in a copper-pot still from 100% Idaho 2-row barley, then matured at the Driggs, Idaho, distillery in casks that previously aged Grand Teton’s Colter’s Run Bourbon, and finally finished in red wine casks from the nearby Jackson Hole Winery. 

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There are no details provided about the duration of the maturation and finishing processes, but there’s still plenty here to be interested in. I’m always keen to know about the process that brings about the liquid in my glass, but it’s especially important to establish concrete details when distilleries are marketing a “grain-to-glass” product. This phrase has caught on and carries plenty of positive associations, but it’s not always clear what it means. It’s pleasant to see Grand Teton clarify what this label, and the impact of their operation for that matter, means to them.

Grand Teton Malt Whiskey (image via Jacob Wirt)

Grand Teton Malt Whiskey review

Tasting Notes: Grand Teton Malt Whiskey

Vital Stats: 80 proof, no age statement, priced for retail at $40.

Appearance: A very light straw color. The liquid is on the thin side and noticeably cloudy.

Nose: There is a mild sweetness from the wine cask finish that makes an impression here, layering nicely with a bready base note.

Palate: Lots of herbs on the palate, I get the impression of chamomile tea sweetened with agave fading into notes of baked chocolate.

The Takeaway
3.5

Summary

This is a smooth, easy sipper at 80 proof, and the complexity of the flavor amounts to a proof of concept that the single malt category has a place in American whiskey making. There is a lot to like here, but I still get the sense that there is a good bit of room for this to mature. Whiskey drinkers tracking the development of American single malts probably won’t mind the $40 price point, and I will definitely be keeping my eye out for future iterations of this expression.

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