Whiskey Review: Alaska Outlaw Whiskey

Alaska Outlaw WhiskeyIt was in 2008 that Sarah Palin’s failed bid for the vice presidency put her home of Wasilla, Alaska, on the map. Coincidentally, 2008 was also the year the state’s first commercial distillery, simply titled Alaska Distillery, opened its doors in the same town. The pet project of Toby Foster, a former medevac pilot who switched careers after he broke his back in a plane crash, Alaska Distillery mostly produces vodka, from a high-end version they call Permafrost to a range of flavored vodkas made with local ingredients ranging from raspberry to birch syrup to smoked salmon.

Beyond the unique flavor offerings, Alaska Distillery sets itself apart by making all its spirits with glacier water. Ice is literally plucked from the ocean and melted, at room temperature, to mix spirits down to bottle strength. Whether this is anything more than a gimmick is unclear, but the vodka, at least, seems to be the real deal, with Permafrost earning the title of best potato vodka from BTI in 2009.

This whiskey is a more recent offering from the distillery. It’s made with corn and Alaskan barley, and aged for three years in charred oak with charred red alder chips. Like their vodka, it’s “made with glacier ice,” though I haven’t been able to discern where in the distillation process the glacier water comes into play. It’s bottled at 80 proof.

Tasting Notes:

Appearance: Straw-colored with sparse legs.

Nose: Mostly sweet, with vanilla, maraschino cherry, and butterscotch predominating. A slight woody note is also noticeable.

Palate: Light in body to the point of being watery. Still mostly sweet, with vanilla, caramel, and a little oak.

Read More Whiskey News
Whiskey Reviews: Bespoken Spirits

Finish: Short and unremarkable, with a hint of baking spice.


If ever there was a whiskey to make me shrug disinterestedly, it’s this one. There’s nothing quite unpleasant about it, but it’s utterly unremarkable, with a paper-thin body. Far from embodying the persona of an outlaw, if this whiskey took a human form, it would be a guy staring quietly at his shoes at a house party.