Whiskey Review: St. George Baller Whiskey - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: St. George Baller Whiskey

St. George Baller Whiskey

St George Baller Whiskey (image via Savannah Weinstock)

St. George Spirits of Alameda, California, has been crafting genuinely odd spirits since 1982, with their well-respected single malt out since 2000. Each St. George product has an interesting element or story, whether it be green chile in their newest vodka release, intensely savory rhum agricole, or the first legal American absinthe since the 2007 ban on the spirit was lifted. Every St. George release seems to come with a wink and a nod from the distillers.

While I don’t love to drink every single product they’ve got out, I appreciate their chutzpah. Their Baller Whiskey is yet another perfect example of the lighthearted, adventurous spirit of the distillery.

Explained as “a California take on the Japanese spin on Scotch whisky,“I’m hard pressed to imagine another spirit out there as meta as this one. The Baller Whiskey is a single malt made with American barley. At eight years old, the spirit saw three to four years in ex-bourbon and French oak, and then the rest of its life in casks seasoned with house-made umeshu (Japanese plum wine). The liquid was filtered through maple charcoal, and bottled at 47% ABV.

Tasting Notes: St. George Baller Whiskey

Appearance: The Baller Whiskey is a light golden straw tone in the glass, a warm and buttery yellow.

Nose: Malty and grain-forward at first on the nose, the spirit opens quickly and with considerable intensity. Some funkiness and fruit expands into warm beer mash, old school cherry and cream sodas, root beer barrel candy, and charred fruit. The front end of the nosing experience smells just like a candy store burning down. After opening, salted pickled plums (umeboshi), brine, and char come together more coherently. The nose becomes driven by umami and beach campfire.

Palate: The first impression on the palate is summer BBQ realness, with warm malty beer and relish-covered potato chips. Hot soda and barbecue Lays come next. Dried seaweed, sweet rice crackers, and warm root beer transition the palate from sweet and salty to umami. Brine, pickle, smoke, sugar, and salt make for an incredibly complex flavor profile. A lingering, bread-y sweetness on the finish melds with light funkiness and smoke.

Conclusion:

The Baller Whiskey may very possibly be the only whisk(e)y I’ve ever had that utilized the coveted “fifth taste” of umami. It hit every flavor of a good meal, in a Wonka-esque Three Course Dinner Chewing Gum manner. Drinking and reviewing this whiskey was an absolute pleasure, and highly entertaining to boot.

The Baller Whiskey is exactly the kind of whisk(e)y that I love and that keeps me in love with whisk(e)y. While certainly not an everyday sort of whiskey, I can easily imagine The Baller Whiskey becoming a coveted collectible.

FINAL SCORE: 94/100 [SHOP FOR A BOTTLE OF ST. GEORGE BALLER WHISKEY]


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