Whiskey Reviews: Double Circle Spirits Small Batch Straight Wheat Whiskey, Single Barrel Straight Wheat Whiskey

, | November 29, 2021

Editor’s Note: These whiskeys were provided to us as review samples by Double Circle Spirits. 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.

Sweet wheat! That is what I am looking at today with Double Circle Spirits’ Small Batch and Single Barrel Straight Wheat Whiskeys. These are made 100% from soft white wheat that comes from the company’s family farm, Johnson Ranch.

While Double Circle Spirits does not distill their own product, they remain as involved as they can in every other aspect of the production. They use New Deal Distillery in Portland, Oregon, for their distilling, but manage the mash bills, barrel selection, and aging of their spirits themselves. They are dedicated enough to using only their own grain that they took a year off from production after losing their crop to wildfires.

Double Circle Spirits really pushes their story of the family farm in Wasco County, Oregon. Jason Johnson is the fifth generation of Johnsons involved with the Johnson Ranch. They practice dryland farming, which means they have no irrigation for crops. While his father still runs the operations of the ranch, Jason has expanded the family business to make their wheat into spirits. The straight wheat whiskey really allows them to showcase their very own grain.

Straight wheat whisky is only legally required to have 51% of its mash bill come from wheat. Double Circle Spirits pushes this all the way to 100% wheat to really show what their grain tastes like when distilled and aged. While neither bottle carries an age statement, they do claim they are aging for no less than 3 years. This makes these young whiskeys, which makes sense for a company that only started whiskey production in 2016.

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While wheated bourbon is already a minor portion of the whiskey world, wheat whiskey gets an even smaller percentage of the market. And rarer still is the 100% wheat mash bill featured in Double Circle Spirits Small Batch and Single Barrel Straight Wheat Whiskeys. There is a reason you don’t see 100% wheat often. Wheat in a mash bill tends to lighten the flavor profile and smooth out the edges. When left on its own it just does not bring enough flavor to the glass.

The price point of this bottle also leaves it in sort of a limbo for me that you often see with smaller producers or distillers. It’s not quite cheap enough for working with cocktails. And it’s not quite flavorful enough to make me want to drink it straight. I would advise anyone interested to instead grab a bottle of Double Circle Spirits’ Straight Bourbon, which has the corn to help the flavor profile stand up.

Double Circle Spirits Small Batch Straight Wheat Whiskey and Single Barrel Straight Wheat Whiskey (image via Ian Arnold)

Double Circle Spirits Small Batch Straight Wheat Whiskey and Single Barrel Straight Wheat Whiskey (image via Ian Arnold)

Tasting Notes: Double Circle Spirits Small Batch Straight Wheat Whiskey

Vital Stats: 45% ABV, no age statement, 100% soft white wheat, $54.95 a bottle. Wasco County, Oregon.

Appearance: This is a clear rich golden honey color. Legs don’t so much as form as they do just appear as soon as you stop moving the whiskey.

Nose: The first nosing of this is sweet, with notes of brown sugar and orange peel. Going back in I get even more sweetness of caramel and vanilla.

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Palate: The first sip has a very light burn to it, with subtle notes of caramel, vanilla, and orange oil. It doesn’t really develop past the subtleties that I got from the first sip. The finish becomes astringent and leaves a lingering taste of ethanol with just a hint of the grain. The addition of water brings forward more of the oak with hints of caramel, vanilla, and just a bit of tannin. Water helps to eliminate all the unpleasant parts of the finish.

Rating: 2

Tasting Notes: Double Circle Spirits’ Single Barrel Straight Wheat Whiskey

Vital Stats: 60% ABV, no age statement, 100% soft white wheat, $69.95 a bottle. Wasco County, Oregon.

Appearance: It is a light amber in color with legs that are quick to fall.

Nose: I get nothing but butterscotch on the nose.

Palate: There is a hint of the butterscotch sweetness as this hits the lips.  But quickly turns dry and hot on the palate. I get some notes of lemon oil before the finish. The finish leaves my mouth tingling with just a hint of a burn from the alcohol content, but none of the flavor. With a bit of water it’s nothing particularly exciting, but the wheat does come through. After the water is added the finish just falls flat.

Rating: 1.5

Final Thoughts: These bottles are a novelty at best, a way to experience what wheat brings to a whiskey. But if you are looking to try a small production whiskey that uses wheat, I would say skip this and go for one of Double Circle Spirit’s bourbons that are 51% corn and 49% wheat.

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