Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Stranahan’s. 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.
Stranahan’s Single Malt Whiskey began with a chance meeting of two gentlemen at a barn fire who found that they had many common interests and varied experiences that came together to form an idea. At the time, American single malt was not part of the common whiskey lexicon. I can remember recommending ASM to someone who was looking to try something they had never had before. After I told them about it, their response was, “So, it’s Scotch?”
Instead of immediately correcting them with a geography lesson, I tried to explain it in the light of how various influences have led us to the bottle we were considering at the time. The reasons why yes, this is similar to Scotch, but it is also similar to other whiskeys in that this one uses new charred oak barrels.
In the years since that recommendation, many more American single malts have been introduced from all over the country. Stranahan’s has changed hands and master distillers a couple of times, but it still makes its whiskey in Denver with a focus on tradition, the outdoors, and experimentation.
Diamond Peak will probably seem familiar to whiskey fans. It was a limited edition release from Stranahan’s that was discontinued a couple of years ago but has now been re-booted and will be included in the brand’s core line up. The previous iteration featured four Rocky Mountain barleys that were double distilled and then aged in new American Oak barrels with a #3 char, giving malt whiskey the bourbon experience. The next generation of Diamond Peak will feature a secondary cask finish that will vary from year to year. The 2022 release partners the Colorado single malt with one of its Proximo siblings, Bushmills Irish Whiskey.
Here’s how this team-up worked: After being aged in American oak barrels for two to seven years, the liquid was transferred to Bushmills Irish single malt whiskey casks, where it aged for up to four additional years. Bushmills uses ex-bourbon barrels to age its single malt, so this should seem familiar to malt fans and add an interesting Colorado twist. I thought it would be fun to try some of the original Diamond Peak and the Bushmills single malt on their own, but alas, all of my original was gone. I did revisit the Bushmills for the first time in a while and noticed a banana top-note that I had forgotten about and I am eager to see how that plays into this release. Let us find out.
Tasting Notes: Stranahan’s Diamond Peak, 2022 release
Vital Stats: 90 proof (45% ABV), 100% malted barley, aged in American oak barrels for two to seven years before the liquid is transferred to Bushmills Irish single malt whiskey casks, where it ages for up to four additional years. $79.99 MSRP. Batch 0004, bottle 0007 tasted for review. Denver, Colorado.
Appearance: Light marigold yellow and slightly hazy.
Nose: Dried apricot, stewed stone fruit and banana, almost like someone has just ordered tableside bananas Foster and it’s just been flambeed.
Palate: Dry and astringent at first, it then develops an oily mouthfeel and mellows into a long sweet finish, maintaining the fruit notes.
For being an American single malt, this release is incredibly fruit forward! I expected cereal grains to come through, but this bottle gives still life with a fruit basket. The hazy, oily nature of the whiskey is interesting, and I appreciate the experiment. I will definitely be paying attention to next year’s release, and will make sure to hang on to this bottle for comparison.
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Jason Marshall has spent his career as a bartender advocate and mentor , providing an opportunity for the best new faces and ideas to flourish. The process has given him opportunities to stretch creatively, develop wonderful people who branched out to their own passions, and host cocktail competitions with a...