Whiskey Review: Montgomery American Single Malt - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Montgomery American Single Malt

Montgomery Distillery, in Missoula, Montana, started and remains a family operation. In 2009, Ryan and Jenny Montgomery started their planning to establish a traditional small-batch distillery in Missoula. Ryan’s parents operate the family ranch in Heath, Montana where they grow the wheat and rye the company uses. According to them, none of their spirits (they produce rye, gin, aquavit, vodka, and the single malt I review here) are made from purchased neutral grain or sourced from another producer.

Montgomery’s release of their rye whiskey in 2015 marked the first-ever regional batch of legally distilled whiskey, according to the Billings Gazette. They used Canadian rye for part of this batch, but that was the last time—at least so far—that “outside” grains have been used in their products.

Montgomery’s American Single Malt also ties into local producers: The barley used for it is sourced locally as well—near Great Falls. This four-year old whiskey is their second release. It’s 2-½ times pot distilled and aged in American White Oak.

And what’s it mean when whiskey is advertised as being distilled in fractions? Why, we answer that question right here.

Montgomery American Single Malt

Montgomery American Single Malt (image via Montgomery Distillery)

Tasting Notes: Montgomery American Single Malt

Vital Stats: 90 proof, made from Montana barley, aged four years in charred new American Oak, $48

Appearance: It’s very light. Light straw, young hay, very light, sunbleached blond. More yellow than gold. Did I mention it was light?

Nose: A little Parmesan cheese. Unmelted candle wax. A freshly printed Costco catalog. It has a woody, kind of pulpy nose.

Palate: This was much more complex on the palate than its nose suggested. I happened to taste this the same day I tried the J.H. Cutter whisky—and it was like the reverse of that. The Cutter had a delightful nose, but the palate didn’t work for me. The Montgomery American Single Malt is the opposite. The nose was a little dubious on this, but the taste was really nice. It was well-balanced—at 90 proof I had thought it’d be a lot hotter, but that’s not the case.

It’s light…and almost refreshing. I could see this on the rocks as a nice aperitif. Or in a booze-forward drink that you might not want to taste too boozy. It has an earthy component that is missing from most whiskies. I think sometimes that’s hard to do because earthy can turn muddy quickly, but that’s not the case here. It made me want to try their other products!

The Takeaway

This was a happy surprise. It would be a great intro for a non-whiskey drinker, because this is light and non-offensive--but it’s also not boring.

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About the author

Carin Moonin

A decade ago, I traded a 5th floor walkup in Hoboken, NJ for a house in SE Portland and remain grateful for the swap. Portland’s a great whiskey town: It fits the weather and my general mood (even improves it sometimes). I enjoy exploring the many shades of brown liquor and learning what it can do for me. I’ve written for publications including Salon.com, DailyDot.com, Willamette Week, Portland Monthly, and more. When I’m not drinking whiskey or writing about it, I can be found running, reading, or seeking out free samples in grocery stores.