Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Wonderland Distilling. 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.
Wonderland Distilling Co is a new kid on the Michigan block. While they are aging their whiskies in Muskegon, they are blending up limited edition batches of other Michigan spirits. First up they have two blended whiskey options for adventurous Michiganders and beyond. One is cask strength and the other cut with pure Lake Michigan water. Would you expect anything less from the land surrounded by The Great Lakes?
As their story says, “it begins with a lake“. That’s how many stories start in the great state of Michigan. Lake adventures are a way of life. So are dunes and forests. Why not make a whiskey brand dedicated to all the outdoor lovers by sourcing all local ingredients? Not only do they call themselves a craft distillery, but they also pride themselves on having locally made distilling equipment.
A whiskey made for the independent souls, the adventure seekers. Let’s see how it stacks up to my rather adventurous palate.
Tasting Notes: Wonderland Blend of Straight Whiskeys – Cask Strength
Vital Stats: A custom blend of local whiskeys from hand-selected barrels. Made from 100 percent Michigan rye and Michigan wheat whiskeys, combined with 100% corn bourbon whiskey, aged separately and blended in small batches at their Muskegon distillery. This limited-edition blend is bottled straight from the barrel without proofing. My bottle was 119.85 proof. The bottles you can buy at the store will range from 117 to 123 depending on the batch.
Appearance: A deep golden yellow in color. Thin, fast-moving legs.
Nose: Surprisingly mild for the proof but there was still that solvent aroma of a strong whiskey. There was also lovely floral hints, butterscotch and brown sugar.
Palate: I always brace myself a little for the higher proof whiskies and need a few sips before I can jot down my tasting notes. Oftentimes, I add water to see how it opens up or changes the palate. On this Wonderland Distilling Co whiskey there was a lot of burn but also a lot of sweetness. I detected notes of caramel, spicy rye, pepper and citrus oil.
With a high proof whiskey I usually find it hard to decipher many aromas and palate notes without a bit of water. This cask strength whiskey was surprisingly mild on the nose but the first sip did burn my chapped lips. The second tasting was much more pleasant with less burn.
To me, a higher proof whiskey can burn out a lot of the subtleties in flavor. To others, they prefer the barrel strength for the bolder, richer flavors. I felt this whiskey was simple and sweet. After a few sips the burn on my lips and in my mouth became a touch lighter but if you add some water the sweetness really comes forward. If you like your whiskey strong, drink this one neat. If you like it a little sweeter, the water was a nice touch for me.
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Melissa D. Jones is a traveler, blogger, photographer, storyteller, foodie, whiskey lover and creative entrepreneur. Living for adventure and new experiences she's photographed her way around all 50 states and 47 countries (still counting!) and wrote her travel knowledge into a book. When she's not traveling you can find her...