Sonoma County Distilling, out of California, has been getting noted of late for its grain to glass approach when it comes to the craft whiskies it produces. Its philosophy in this regard has made its West of Kentucky Bourbon bottlings particularly popular, and now it is taking its rye whiskey in an interesting direction with the release of a new smoked expression.
The distillery’s new Cherrywood Rye Whiskey, according to Sonoma County Distilling, is the result of two years of work to create a rather unique spirit. What you have here is a mash bill that’s primarily unmalted rye grain (80%) supported by unmalted wheat and, most interestingly, cherrywood smoked barley!
Sonoma County said of this whiskey that it is double alembic pot distilled and aged in “new-charred American oak as well as finished in used barrels to further mature without over-oaking, the already bottle-ready spirit.” What’s resulted is a 96 proof bottling that’s natural color and non-chill filtered.
The Cherrywood Rye, pricing around $55 a bottle, is available in limited numbers either directly from the distillery or through select retailers. Tasting notes on a sample bottle sent to us for review (which we will publish in a few weeks) indicate a brown spirit with hints of “dried figs, toasted almonds, brandied cherries and new leather” that is, according to additional information on the distillery’s website, “designed to be a Manhattan cocktail in a bottle but with use of only grains.”