Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Wanderback Whiskey Co. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.
Wanderback Whiskey Batch No. 1 is the very first whiskey from Wanderback Whiskey Co., located in Hood River, Oregon. This American single malt won 2018 Double Gold Medal from American Distilling Institute in the American Single Malt Whiskey category.
Wanderback Batch No. 1 was crafted by Wanderback Whiskey founder Phil Downer in collaboration with Westland Distillery in Seattle, Washington. This whiskey went into barrels that were heavily toasted, and lightly charred before coming home to Hood River to be aged for three years, finished, blended and finally bottled.
It is Downer’s intention that Wanderback only come out with single malt whiskeys and here is why – a few years ago Downer took a fateful a motorcycle trip across Oregon with a couple of friends, and it was on this trip that he fell in love with American single malt whiskeys such as Stranahan’s. When it came time to decide what style of whiskey Wanderback would produce, American single malt was the whiskey that most resonated with Downer’s heart.
Batch No. 1 is a delightful sipping whiskey, and in my opinion – best enjoyed neat. I look forward to Wanderback Batch #2, which has spent time in both Nicaraguan rum barrels and Heaven Hill bourbon barrels. Lastly, Downer plans to release Wanderback Batch #3 late 2019
Tasting Notes: Wanderback Whiskey Batch No. 1
Vital Stats: An American single malt whiskey; 90 proof; mash bill: 88% pale malt, 8% crystal malt, 2% pale chocolate malt, 2% Munich malt; aged minimum of three years; 90 proof; $64 for a 750ml bottle.
Appearance: This whiskey is a rich amber in color, and has a subtle brightness that is incredibly alluring.
Nose: a light pleasant aroma of campfire smoke.
Palate: stone fruit, anise, with a gentle finish of both dark chocolate, and a very light smoke. With some of my sips I could almost taste a little peat moss smoke, likely come from the mashbill that Paul developed for this whiskey. Please note – No peat malt was used in this whiskey.
I first sampled this whiskey earlier in 2018, and I like it so much that I bought a bottle of my own to take home with me. I then enjoyed it throughout the fall; this is a perfect whiskey for cool fall evenings. In fact, I can’t think of a season that this whiskey would not go well with.