Whiskey Review: Wonderland Blend of Straight Whiskeys

By Kenji Mizumori / October 27, 2020

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Wonderland Distilling. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. 

Upon receiving this sample, I’ll admit that I didn’t know what to expect. A craft distillery starting up like many others these days. Not that the fact detracts from their appeal. However, this one is quite new and there is little known about it.

We’ll start with the simple facts of the whiskey. It is a blend done in the Canadian style, which implies that each grain style of whiskey is distilled independently, aged, and then blended. In this case, we have a mix of 100% corn, rye, and wheat whiskeys done on their own and then blended into a single product.

In many ways, blended whiskeys have historically had a bad reputation. There are plenty of purists out there. However, blending is an art. Take your favorite cocktail for example. It is a mix of different elements made whole into a singular concoction. In addition, many newer distilleries are focusing on blends of sourced whiskeys, as their own product ages.

Wonderland Distilling, located in Michigan, is a distillery said to make spirits that are “made from the desire for adventure to embody the passion to live a life untethered” in “an ode to the woods, water, fields & manufacturing history that makes Michigan great.” Amongst their up and coming portfolio includes a vodka, gin, and rum to be released later this year.

Wonderland Blend of Straight Whiskeys

Wonderland Blend of Straight Whiskeys (image via Wonderland Distilling)

Tasting Notes: Wonderland Blend of Straight Whiskeys

Vital Stats: 84 proof, 42% ABV. Blend of 100% Michigan rye and wheat whiskeys along with a 100% corn whiskey. ~ $44 per 750ml bottle.

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Appearance: A burnt orange, similar to a heavily steeped green tea. Upon a swirl, noticed sparse, slow legs along the glass.

Nose: This one starts off on the sweeter side for sure. Smoked honey with a bit of green apple and a hint of black pepper. Definitely invokes a sense of fall flavors.

Palate: I found this whiskey to be fairly indicative of the grains blended into it. Naturally, the wheat and corn elements bring an influence of the fruit and honey notes. In this respect, imagine honeydew glazed with a touch of honey. However, the rye part of the blend does show up to the party towards the finish with some peppery notions.

The Takeaway

Summary

This release was interesting and yet lacked a certain level of identity. I do appreciate the blending process and what you can make of it. However, this one simply misses the mark. It's one of those products that leaves you wanting it to be something, perhaps a touch more on the rye or wheat side of things.

Wonderland is well worth keeping an eye on, though at this moment, just not quite there yet.

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