Laws Whiskey House is one of the newest additions to the burgeoning craft distillery scene in Denver, Colorado. Established in 2011 the first bottles of their four grain straight bourbon started arriving in liquor stores around Denver towards the end of last year. The blend is 60% corn, 20% wheat and 10% each barley and rye. They are using a small batch, sour mash process with great attention to using the highest quality ingredients possible.
Alan Laws, founder and president of the company, is a former investment banker with a deep and abiding love of whiskey. His personal collection of whiskeys includes over 600 bottles, all of them open! He accompanied us on a tour of the distillery, along with Kristen Famularo, our tour guide. Both were entertaining and informative. The passion that has gone into the making of this spirit is impressive and contagious. As the website states, “…though it is a distillery, it is much more, a temple of sorts.” A temple to the making of great whiskey. And this is certainly a great whiskey.
The A.D. Laws Four Grain Bourbon is aged for over two years in new charred white American oak barrels and is hand crafted from grain to bottle on site at the distillery. The wheat, rye and barley come from Colorado Malting Co., a small family farm operation in Alamosa, Colorado. The corn comes from Briess Malting in Wisconsin.
Master distiller Jake Norris is head distiller at Laws and was formerly the master distiller at Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey until it was sold to Proximo Spirits. He has been distilling spirits since he was a teenager and his expertise shows in this fine whiskey.
Laws’ bourbon has the complexity one would expect from a good four grain spirit. Bottled at 95 proof it is wonderfully smooth. The nose opens with aromas of toffee, caramel and hints of spice. On the palate there are flavors of vanilla, burnt orange, leather and tobacco. It is well balanced with a richness from the wheat and nutty characteristics from the barley. On the long smooth finish there are spicy notes from the rye and sweetness from the corn. On the whole it is a magically delicious dram!
The packaging for this first bottling is as rich and elegant as the contents, with a heavy rectangular bottle with the logo embossed on the glass. The logo is a geometric design that stands for the concepts of infinite time and infinite process. And I will add that it is an infinite delight to the senses!
Also in the works is from this new distillery is a rye whiskey. It is aged for over three years and will be bottled at 100 proof. The aromas are sweet with spice and grain and the palate delivers earthy flavors with hints of leather, cardamom and honey. There are hints of muskiness and spice on the finish. Overall it is an extremely smooth and delicious rye whiskey. The quantities are small and it will only be available at the distillery sometime in June. Rest assured, I will be there to get a bottle!
Should you want to check out the distillery like I did, tours and tasting room are open Thursday-Saturday and reservations can be made at their website. Also, if you want to hunt down a bottle of the A.D. Laws Four Grain Straight Bourbon, it is available in select stores in the Denver area and at the distillery for about $65 and online through a variety of merchants. They are currently distributing as well to select stores in New York, New Jersey and Illinois.
Lisa Graziano CSW, CSS
Lisa Graziano grew up with a German father and Irish-American mother in Los Angeles, California. An education in beer, wine and spirits came with this upbringing. She has pursued the study of wine and spirits seriously for the past eight years, earning both Certified Specialist of Wine and Spirits from...