Whiskey Reviews: Warfield Organic American, Madeira Finished Organic Whiskeys

, | April 27, 2022

Editor’s Note: These whiskeys were provided to us as review samples by Warfield Distillery and Brewery. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. 

It seems like just about every state is distilling whiskey nowadays. And while I was able to find a list that covered all 50 states it doesn’t seem to distinguish distilling and producing. But recently I have reviewed whiskeys distilled in Wyoming, Maryland, Colorado, and Iowa. And now Idaho. Here I’m looking at Warfield Distillery and Brewery’s Organic American Whiskey and Madeira Finished Organic Whiskey.

Warfield Distillery and Brewery was founded by Ben Bradley and Alex Buck in Ketchum, Idaho and saw a pretty impressive expansion back in 2020. They added two 1,000 gallon copper pot stills during this expansion, but I am unable to find details on what they had before and if the stills from before the expansion are still in use. They use organic grains in their distillation seeking to use the best possible ingredients as well as keeping in mind the impact their ingredients have on the environment. 

The idea of organic grains in whiskey is by no means new. It is important to keep in mind that this doesn’t speak to quality either way. But if it is something you care about, you can know the whiskey you are drinking is made by like-minded individuals. What I have found to be true about the organics is you often get something more unique. The organic farms tend to have smaller production, are more regional, and their products are less homogenized. All of this will often carry over to the final product from the distillery. 

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One of the whiskeys I am reviewing here is finished in Madeira casks. Madeira is a style of fortified wine from the island of Madeira. It has a pretty good range of flavor profiles and is the classification of my favorite dessert wine, Rare Wine Company’s Baltimore Rainwater Madeira. Madeira is one of my favorite finishes for Irish whiskey and something I love to throw into a cocktail. If it’s not apparent yet, I was excited to taste this whiskey. 

While not to spoil the review, the Madeira finish didn’t blow me away. But it was more enjoyable then the last Madeira finish I got to try from Old Line (the Maryland distillery linked at the start of the article). I don’t know if it is because of the Madeira casks these newer American distilleries are able to get, or something with American whiskey and Madeira, but I just don’t get the wonderful flavors I experience from something like Tyrconnel’s Madeira finish. Enough about what this isn’t, let’s look at what it is.

Warfield Whiskey review

Warfield Organic American Whiskey (image via Warfield Distillery)

Tasting Notes: Warfield Distillery Organic American Whiskey

Vital Stats: 47% ABV, 100% organic malted barley using 2-row and crystal malts, aged in ex-bourbon barrels with no age statement. Available at their distillery for $84.95 per 750ml bottle.

Appearance: This is straw in color with a hint of honey. It has medium legs that leave a heavy ring around the glass.

Nose: I can really smell the barley. It has hints of green apple, honey, and just a faint note of something medicinal.

Palate: This is full of delicate flavor. I get a floral citrus that reminds me of hops without the bitterness. There are notes of honeysuckle, fresh barley, and a little touch of black pepper. The finish is light and buttery with a little spice.

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Score: 4/5

Tasting Notes: Warfield Distillery Finished in Madeira Casks

Vital Stats: 47% ABV, 100% malted barley using pale ale and crystal malts, aged in ex-bourbon barrels finished in Madeira casks, four year age statement. Currently sold out, was available for $97.95 at their distillery. 

Appearance: Lovely Amber color, legs take a long time to form and are slow to fall. 

Nose: I get honey and raisin right away, with a heavy influence from the Madeira. There are subtle hints of the barley and alcohol underneath.

Palate: This is quite dry on the palate. The finish is vegetal with that black pepper spice. The finish is much more flavorful than the mid-palate. The addition of water brings out a little caramel and baking spice. The addition of more water brings out yet more flavor, with notes of brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, and nuts, giving me more of what I want from the Madeira barrel. Water shifts the finish away from the vegetal flavors and ups the spice. 

Score: 3/5

Final Thoughts: The organic American whiskey was a lovely, delicate experience and something very different from a lot of the American single malts on the market. Not my normal go-to, but still very pleasant and worth checking out. The Madeira finish was disappointing to me straight out of the bottle, as the proof seemed to mask much of the flavor. But water helped it along tremendously. This is one I feel has been bottled at slightly too high of ABV for what it is–yet just isn’t as rich as I wanted when watered down enough to get the flavors.

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