Portland’s New Deal Distillery Offers Up Trio Of Experimental Malt Whiskeys

By Nino Kilgore-Marchetti / September 11, 2020

New Deal Distillery out of Portland, Oregon, where we are headquartered, has long been a part of the craft spirits scene, having opened shop back in 2004. This now 16 year operation dabbles in a large range of spirit types, showcasing among them a small whiskey line up we reviewed a few years back. Joining these now are a number of new experimental malt whiskeys.

These three new New Deal malt whiskeys, according to those behind them, are designed to explore a different combination of traditional and experimental grains, giving each what’s said to be a unique profile. Each is five years of age and will be released one at a time though this month, October and November.

New Deal Malt Whiskeys

The three malt whiskeys of New Deal Distillery (image via New Deal)

“American malt whiskey is a category largely ignored by the big Kentucky distilleries,” said New Deal owner and distiller Tom Burkleaux in a prepared statement. “It’s been the craft distillers who have explored the American expression of malt whiskey. We had fun experimenting with some uncommon mash bills and thought it would be fun to release these as a series.

“We like to put out something special around the holidays and this year definitely calls for more whiskey.”

Specifics of each are as follows, including official tasting notes. It should be noted as well these are Oregon only releases, and for those who want to learn more about the set as a whole, plans are in the works for a virtual tasting later this year.

Barley Whiskey (September)

  • mash bill: 56% malt barley, 44 % barley
  • Small-batch grain fermentation
  • Double copper pot-distilled
  • Aged for 5 years in a single 25 gallon #1 char American Oak barrel
  • This single barrel, barley whiskey begins with banana, vanilla, and fig on the nose with notes of tobacco, praline, and dried hops. Approachable and medium bodied with a dried fruit finish.
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American Single Malt Whiskey (October)

  • mash bill: 50% malt barley, 50% smoked malt barley
  • Small-batch grain fermentation
  • Double copper pot-distilled
  • A blend of two 25 gallon American Oak Barrels, #1 and #4 char
  • Aged for 5 years
  • Our American Single Malt whiskey is light bodied and easy-to-drink. You’ll find plenty of umami smoke and fire roasted vegetable notes with a lingering finish that’s both sweet and smokey

Smoked Malt Whiskey (November)

  • mash bill: 67% wheat, 12% malted barley, 21% smoked malted barley
  • Small-batch grain fermentation
  • Double copper pot-distilled
  • A blend of two 25 gallon American Oak Barrels, #1 and #3 char
  • Aged for 5 years
  • This predominately wheat whiskey incorporates smoked malt to create a dynamic yet balanced profile. Chocolate, cherry, and cedar aromas are followed by waffle, black pepper, tobacco, and camp smoke. Finishes with anise and vanilla

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