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.
The Yellowstone label comes to us from Limestone Branch Distillery, a small batch producer located in Lebanon, KY. The operation is run by two brothers; Stephen and Paul Beam, who are not only connected to whiskey history through their Beam family tree (on their father’s side), but are also great-great grandsons to J.W. Dant, another well-known master distiller from the Kentucky history books (on their mother’s side).
This pedigree doesn’t just give them a good name, but also influences the Beam brothers to use more traditional production methods that have been sourced from their family’s long history in the business. From using a (relatively) small copper pot still for their spirit and strip runs, to using an open cook method to make their mash, the brothers are focused on quality over quantity when it comes to production and seem focused on providing that quality through the tried and true methods that have been passed down through their family history.
The most interesting way they implement this history is the yeast strain that they use, which dates back to 1895. It was sourced from a yeast jug owned by their great-grandfather and then cultivated so that they could use it in all of their whiskey production today.
Speaking of their whiskey production, the Yellowstone label is primarily a bourbon brand, but will infrequently do special releases of other types of whiskey. The variation in question today is one of these special releases and is their American single malt. Though not unheard of, the single malt is not typically thought of when mentioning American distilleries. Typically, the 100% malted barley mash bill comes from Scotland or Japan and is typically overshadowed in America by the more popular corn blends (bourbon) or rye blends, especially in Kentucky.
So, it’s a bit of a fun challenge for a traditional Kentucky distillery, especially one like Limestone Branch that has such deep roots in the region, to take on a mash bill that’s not as common in their neck of the woods.
Tasting Notes: Yellowstone American Single Malt
Vital Stats: Mash bill: 100% Malted Barley. 54% ABV. Aged four years. suggested retail price of $54.99.
Color: Maple Syrup.
Nose: Nutty, with strong fruit sweetness.
Palate: The nutty aroma is still the primary profile on the palate, along with a cereal flavor that should be expected from any single malt. The fruit that was present on the nose disappears a bit on the palate, but there is definitely still a fair amount of sweetness that sticks around and mixes well with the oily texture. There is also a bit of heat to each sip, though nothing that should turn anyone who likes single malts away.
Whiskey Review: Yellowstone American Single Malt
Limestone Branch’s first attempt at a single malt under their Yellowstone label is a success. Using American tradition, along with a classically Scottish mash bill, the distillery creates a nice sipping whiskey with good flavors. Though not world beating, it checks all the boxes that you would want in a single malt, and is a good choice if you’re looking for something reliable and easy going.
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Born and raised in Portland, Oregon. I'm a former distiller at Jackson Hole Still Works in Wyoming. Fan of whiskey, golf, and especially whiskey and golf together.