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Stranahan’s Snowflake Returns With Sunshine Peak, Mount Eolus

Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey recently announced the return of its annual Snowflake bottle, released after a year-long hiatus. In fact, this year for the first time, Stranahan’s will release two bottles, including Sunshine Peak, the 2020 batch that went unreleased, and Mount Eolus, the 2021 batch.

To celebrate the double release, Stranahan’s moved its celebratory event from the brand’s Colorado distillery to the iconic Red Rocks Parks & Amphitheatre for a one-day only event on Dec 4.

For each Snowflake expression, the Stranahan’s distillery team starts with Stranahan’s American single malts aged between four and eight years in new white American oak barrels with a #3 char. It’s then transferred to a variety of wine, sherry, cognac, run and tequila barrels sourced from around the world.

Stranahan's Snowflake 2021
Stranahan’s Snowflake 2021 (image via Stranahan’s)

Each year’s batch spends a varying amount of time in different barrels, so the flavor results change every year with their blending.

Batch 23, intended to be released in 2020, is named Sunshine Peak per Stranahan’s tradition for a “14er” or a Colorado mountain peaking over 14,000 feet. The initial whiskey was finished in casks that once held apple brandies, including Calvados from Normandy and Applejack, as well as Moscatel and Cabernet wines. The resulting whiskey features a burst of brightness, like its name, with red wine notes layered throughout.

For this year’s 24th Batch, Stranahan’s created a tribute to Mount Eolus, the Greek God of Wind, by aging single malt in rye and reposado tequila barrels. Mount Eolus is anchored by a spicy, sweet spirit, with herbal overtones, a hint of pepper, and a wisp of peat on the finish. In addition to reposado and rye barrels, Mount Eolus is finished using extra añejo, Tawny Port, French oak, and lightly peated casks.

“To commemorate a Snowflake event unlike any before it, the distillers and I wanted to build on our Colorado roots with compelling global flavors,” said Owen Martin, head distiller at Stranahan’s, in a prepared statement. “For Sunshine Peak, I was inspired by European spirits production to marry our American white oak-aged single malt character with French oak finishes, imparting honeyed apples and dessert wine richness. Mount Eolus elevates the complexity of our signature whiskey base with additional layers of rye and reposado aging and we think Stranahan’s fans will be intrigued by the candied spice of the spirit.”

Following Snowflake tradition, the expressions are only available in-person for one day only on a first-come, first-serve basis. This year, Stranahan’s fans and whiskey collectors are invited to get to Red Rocks no earlier than 7 a.m. MT on Dec. 4 for a chance to snag a bottle or two of both expressions. This year, about 1,500 bottles of each expression will be distributed. Snowflake Sunshine Peak and Mount Eolus will be available to purchase for $119.99 with a valid I.D.

The scenic natural venue will accommodate a full day of activities for Stranahan’s fans, complete with the traditional “Snowflake Village” featuring live music, food, drinks, and entertainment for guests to enjoy while they wait to purchase Snowflake bottles.

Distiller’s notes for Sunshine Peak:

  • Casks: Apple Brandy – Moscatel – French Oak – Cabernet
  • Nose: Caramelized fruits and hints of brown butter. Juicy esters tempered by sweet malt.
  • Palate: Bright apples and apple skin tannins mellow into richer wine character. Buttercream meringue.
  • Finish: Malt reappears balanced by tobacco and fruit preserves. Ripe apples fold into a long barley sugar finish.

Distiller’s notes for Mount Eolus:

  • Casks: Reposado – Extra Añejo – Rye – Tawny Port – French Oak – Peated Cask
  • Nose: Herbal and complex, with soft notes of butterscotch and cheesecake.
  • Palate: Seesaws between spicy and sweet. A whirlwind of salted caramel, cinnamon, and agave.
  • Finish: Creamy and mellow, fading into a gentle wisp of grassy smoke. Begs the company of a cigar.

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Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether that be a novel project, a start-up, an organization, a fresh-face to the journalistic world, or even something as simple as a short story. A native Texan and a Pacific Northwest convert, he is a whiskey enthusiast who cut his teeth on it ... literally!

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