American By Nino Marchetti / March 25, 2016 Share Tweet Pin Share The rapid rise of the California craft whiskey scene has so far mostly been dominated by young distilleries in and near San Francisco, including Alley 6, Spirit Works, Venus Spirits and Sonoma County Distilling. Looking south, towards Los Angeles, Greenbar was pretty much the only one there doing the whiskey thing. They’ve now been joined, however, by Pasadena-based Stark Spirits and its young Peated Whiskey. The new Stark Spirits Peated Whiskey is one of the ever-increasing number of American single malt whiskies out there. It is part of the passion project of co-distillery owners Greg Stark and Karen Robinson-Stark. Together, the two run the less than 1,200 square foot operation, located “down the street and around the corner from the Pasadena Rose Bowl.” The whiskey making side of the operation – they also do rum and gin – is apparently Greg Stark’s passion as “master distiller” of Stark Spirits. He describes himself as having “a solid grounding in the science and art of fermenting, the fundamental process for creating distilled spirits, from 30 years of homebrewing award-winning beer and mead.” His whiskey, bottled at 94 proof, looks to be a three year old expression from what I can tell. It was just recently released for the first time via batch #1, and there is already one online liquor merchant carrying it for around $60. Official tasting notes for it are below from Stark Spirits, and it should be noted the distillery is comparing it in likeness to the non-Islay malt Ardmore. Nose Easy peat, not overpowering, flinty, burned matches, smoked salmon, accompanied by sweet caramel maltiness. Palate Steady arrival, solid peat that is intertwined with sweat vanilla cocoa bean. Finish Medium, leaves you with dry charcoal smoke and bitter almonds.