Whiskey Review: St. George Single Malt Lot 16

St. George Single Malt Lot 16

St. George Distilling in Alameda, California, has been breaking barriers and setting trends in the American craft distilling scene since its founding in 1982. St. George also began producing outstanding single malt whiskies in the early 1990’s, some of the first in the nation, and even today, St. George continues to be an industry leader.

Although widely known for their unique and coveted whiskies, St. George produces a variety of strange, and usually funky, products. From their famously pungent rhum agricole, to their seriously baller Baller Whiskey, St. George isn’t afraid to make bold flavor statements. In fact, when the American ban on absinthe was lifted in 2007, St. George was the first stateside distillery to release their own iteration, named Absinthe Verte.

With many of the previous lot numbered single malts difficult—or even impossible—to find, St. George’s release of the lot #16 single malt is more than exciting. Information from the distillery indicates the distiller “ventured deep into the far corners of our whiskey library and drew from a selection of different barrels ranging 4–10 years in age.”

As this expression has been a yearly release for sometime now, there is a general formula it follows in creation, according to St. George, in which they use “multiple roast levels of malted barley to build layers of subtle flavor and an intoxicating bouquet. Additional complexity comes from lightly smoking a portion of the barley over alder and beech, and from aging the single malt in a variety of cooperage types (used bourbon casks, French oak, port and sherry casks).”

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The 2014 St. George single malt lot release was named Craft Whiskey of the Year by Whisky Advocate, and the 2015 certainly held its own as well. How does Lot 16 play out? Let’s find out.

Tasting Notes: St. George Single Malt Lot 16

Vital Stats: Lot #16 is 43% ABV and distilled from 100% malted barley. Previous lots included whiskies aged anywhere from four to sixteen years.

Appearance: The dram is a welcoming medium golden caramel.

Nose: At first the nose imparts dry sweetness, dark roast coffee beans, and classic St. George funkiness. This expands into olive brine, chocolate covered raisins, feta cheese brine, dry leaves, hawaiian bread, and sweetly funky coffee and chocolate. The nose is overall more subtle than I’ve come to expect from St. George products.

Palate: Clearly low proof on the palate, Lot #16 tastes very, very mellow. Light bodied, the dram expresses leather and baking chocolate off the top. Marshmallow cream sweetness on the front, which instantly moves to leathery, beef broth, chewing on bones, dried leaves.Very subtle and dry. Cigar smoke, dried leaves, wet paper. Very dry, light, and funky. Mushroomy. Very long, savory finish. Tastes like a horse farm smells in fall.

Final Thoughts & Score/Buy A Bottle:

Score: 92/100

Buy NowLot #16 proves very interesting; Refined and clearly thoughtful, St. George has surprised me yet again. From my past experiences imbibing in St. George products, I was expecting a bolder, punchier whiskey. I was pleasantly surprising to find instead an American whiskey that showed insight and restraint. A very unique & elegant dram. A very welcome and interesting addition to the St. George family.