Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.
A hundred or so miles east of Sacramento, at the western edge of the Stanislaus National Forest, and surrounded on all sides by the verdant pines and abundant flowing creeks of the California Sierra Nevada, lies the small town of Arnold, CA. Nestled peacefully some four thousand feet above sea level, the quiet mountain town is now home to an exciting new independent distillery that takes its inspiration in part from these stunning surroundings.
Their latest, Hinterhaus American Single Malt Whiskey, is a stunning testament to the wild possibility of expression that can be found in carefully sourced base ingredients. Open fermented from a barley mash bill of six different strains of family grown California barley and using local Sierra Nevada water, Hinterhaus’s single malt is a bold, vibrant whiskey that is redolent of the piney wilderness in which it was forged.
Released as the first part of what they are calling their ‘Discovery’ series (a ‘Single Grain’ and a ‘Single Barrel’ malt expression are both said to be forthcoming) Hinterhaus American Single Malt is a 100% malted barley whiskey that is is among the more exciting entries I’ve tasted in the recently burgeoning world of American Single Malt.
Though it still lags in the public appreciation compared to its Scottish and Japanese cousins, American Single Malt has seen an impressive growth in sales year over year in the last decade. Currently over 200 distilleries nationwide are producing some form of American Single Malt, and the rising tide is unlikely to abate any time soon. In fact, it may be safe to assume we are now in the nascent stages of the next great American whiskey craze.
If that is so, Hinterhaus has delivered an enticing–if still a bit young– entry into this increasingly competitive field. Bottled at 92 proof, this batch of their single malt is bold, intensely fruity, and eminently quaffable. And while there is no official age statement other than that all the juice has been aged ‘at least 18 months,’ it is easy to be enthusiastic about what the Hinterhaus team might deliver when it has a decade or so of barrel-aging under its collective belt.
Tasting Notes: Hinterhaus American Single Malt Whiskey
Vital Stats: 92 Proof, Mash Bill of 100% malted barley, Age: At least 18 months Price: $65 750ml
Appearance: Brilliant deep copper with med high viscosity. Really a gorgeous looking pour.
Nose: Boisterous tropical fruit and rhubarb leap out of the glass at you, underlined by the faintest hints of eucalyptus and pine. A little time in the glass and the fruit subsides and gives way to cereal aromas, honey, wet clay, and brown sugar.
Palate: On the palate the fruit notes are more reserved and lean toward the malic/green apple arena. Lovely, silky mouthfeel with mid palate of honey, multigrain cracker flavors, and toffee. There’s a slight almond nuttiness and some grass notes, a hint of cinnamon and it finishes with malty character of a Dunkel Bock.
Whiskey Review: Hinterhaus American Single Malt Whiskey
This is simply excellent malt whiskey. It’s incredibly clean, smooth, and full of personality. It was expertly distilled and the combination of barleys blended together by master maltsters Admiral Maltings led to a vibrant yet graceful orchestra of flavor. It somehow manages to be both heady and fun at the same time.
Hinterhaus claims on their website to be attempting to capture and relay part of the terroir of their mountain surroundings and this American Single Malt absolutely succeeds in delivering a genuine sense of place.
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Jason McBeth is a hospitality professional and consultant with nearly 15 years experience in fine dining beverage programs, including six different Michelin Star and/or James Beard award-winning restaurants. As a consultant he has developed and set up unique cocktail programs in markets from Los Angeles, to Lincoln, NE to Richmond,...