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. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
St. George Distillery opened in 1982, making it something of an elder statesman among craft distilleries. While the distillery first won acclaim for Jorg Rupf’s craft brandy, over the years they’ve expanded their range of craft spirits. One of the most boundary pushing releases is their Single Malt. Still something of a nascent category, American single malt is coming into its own and is immensely promising. St. George was early to the party, with their Lot 1 having debuted in 2000 from whiskey distilled in 1997.
The mash bill for St. George’s Single Malt has remained the same since Lot 1 and sounds like something homebrewers might scheme up after a couple rounds sampling their own work. Dependable two-row barley is present in a wide spectrum of roasts. Pale, crystal, chocolate, and black patent malt are all here, in addition to the even less familiar “Bamberg” unmalted barley smoked over beech- and alderwood.
Out of the 26 casks selected for Lot 22, ages range from four and a half to eight and a half years old as well as blended casks containing 23 year old whiskey. Now with nearly two decades worth of craft whiskeys, St. George has an enormous library of casks from which to assemble these yearly releases. There may not be room on the label to list all the finishes applied to the casks making up the blend, but ex Kentucky bourbon, ex Tennessee whiskey, American and French brandy, port, and sauternes are all represented in the final product.
There’s creativity at every level here- the grain bill, finishes, and blending all display those touches of the curiosity and craft-nerdery that I want to see in a limited release!
Tasting Notes: St. George Single Malt Lot 22
Vital Stats: Blended from 4.5-8.5 year barrels with a variety of finishes. 86 proof. Retail price of $109.
Appearance: Pale amber that leans more yellow than red.
Nose: A combination of roast cashews, walnuts, raisin, and a hint of dark chocolate reminiscent of a trip down the bulk foods aisle to make your own trail mix.
Palate: Light, but moderately oily mouthfeel that opens with flavors of ginger snaps dunked in a fruit-forward tea with oat milk, and then pivots to freshly pitched brewing yeast before fading to sautéed apples and vanilla ice cream.
Whiskey Review: St George Single Malt Lot 22
A pretty wild ride. My first impression was that the spectrum of flavors here didn’t totally add up, but this pour made more sense the more time I spent with it as repeated exposure eased some of the transitions between flavors on the palate. Going in I had some concern that all those different finishes could come off “busy” on the palate, but I was quite happy to be wrong.
Best served neat, or with a drop or two of water to give your palate time to traverse the full spectrum of flavors here. This is why people like single malt, and this is a demonstration of the possibilities available to the still emerging category of American Single Malt.
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Jacob Wirt’s past lives as a cook and cultural studies researcher continue to inform his appreciation of fermented grain beverages- not (only) because these professions might drive one to drink, but because they offer a reminder of the knowledge, work, and history that makes every glass possible. His first love...