Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Batch 29

Denver, Colorado, USA– 47%ABV – 750ml bottle – $45 | £64 | €78

I first had the pleasure of tasting Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey at WhiskyFest in NYC.  To see my review of that event, please pop over to Whisky Israel (then pop back here to read this grand review!).

At WhiskyFest last year I was hopping around from table to table; so little to do, so much time… scratch that, reverse it.  Carrying on — I had a boatload of tables to visit during the event!  I’ll be quite honest in stating that, while I had interest in visiting the Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey booth, if I missed them, I missed them.  This was not because I didn’t have the interest, I was simply more focused on Scotch whisky rather than American whiskey.

So there we were, going from this table to that, from that aisle to this aisle… our heads were spinning – it was quite an experience!  We were on our way to the Old Pultney/Balblair booth when my buddy Jeff stopped me and said “Josh, you’ve got to try this $hit!!”.  I saw that he was at the Stranahan’s booth and I said to myself that I could at least scratch these guys off my list (and then get to Balblair already!!).

The nice man at the booth poured me a wee bit and I sniffed… Wow… This is not like any other American Whiskey I’ve ever nosed before!  I continued with the next step (umm, the tasting of course) and wham-o!! My friend Jeff said exactly what I was thinking: “Dude, it’s like liquid banana chips!”  And it was.  Absolutely delicious, these guys nailed it and made something so very unique from all the other American whiskies I’ve every had.

This being said, by hook or by crook, I had to get a bottle.  And that I did.

Now, before I go on I will tell you that I do not know what batch number(s) were being served at WhiskyFest NYC but I can tell you that what I bought was very different from what I had at the fest.  Not in a bad way — at all (though I do wish I could find the banana chip batch.  I’ve got an email into them already so once I find out, you will find out).

Initial whiff Berries, off the bat.  Some cinnamon, a little banana peel, spices (for my Jews out there, reminded me of Havdalah spices).

On the mouth Quite spicy but wildly smooth.  Mouth coating, banana (whole banana, not chips), vanilla, lots of vanilla and a little oak which surprised me as this stuff only stayed in barrels for two years.

Finish Here’s where it gets really interesting and a bit… “R” rated (but hey, we’re all over 21, right??). Directly after the swallow, the most interesting taste came up on the back sides of my tongue.  I asked the drummer of my band to corroborate… we both got the amazingly strange taste of Marijuana in our mouths!  As if we were with Bill Clinton, not inhaling, and taking a hit off of a pipe (or “bowl”, to use the parlance of our times…).  So odd!  It brought me back to the good ‘ol days…  The finish made my mouth felt like it was at a Whitesnake concert circa 1988

In sum This is quite amazing stuff and I liked the fact that my batch was so very different than the batch at WhiskyFest.  It’s like trying single cask scotch whisky, every cask tastes very different.  That being said, for this batch, I think I would suggest to drink it in a relaxing type mood or when cuddling up with a book, a wife, a husband, etc…  Enjoy this year round but try it in the late fall time when the leaves are changing (if that happens in your neck of the woods).  L’chayim/Slainte/Cheers!

15 thoughts on “Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Batch 29”

  1. i have no real knowledge of american whiskies. is this that good?
    i must try…
    10x yossi for the enlightening post.

  2. i have no real knowledge of american whiskies. is this that good?
    i must try…
    10x yossi for the enlightening post.

  3. Yes, it’s that good. I’m not hugely into American whiskies but do like some of the Kentucky Small Batch Bourbons (Like Jefferson’s). This is very different from them, this is a single malt American whiskey.

  4. Yes, it’s that good. I’m not hugely into American whiskies but do like some of the Kentucky Small Batch Bourbons (Like Jefferson’s). This is very different from them, this is a single malt American whiskey.

  5. I,m on my fifth bottle and you’re right – each one is different. I’ve gone to the brewery once and had a pour of Stranahans from a wine cask – WOW – it was great. Very different than the regular stuff. And they usually have 2 or 3 different wine casks that they use. Also, in the restaurant next door they have rum, gin, and vodka handmade right here in the Rockies. Talk about your Rocky Mountain High! Shehacol Y’all

  6. I,m on my fifth bottle and you’re right – each one is different. I’ve gone to the brewery once and had a pour of Stranahans from a wine cask – WOW – it was great. Very different than the regular stuff. And they usually have 2 or 3 different wine casks that they use. Also, in the restaurant next door they have rum, gin, and vodka handmade right here in the Rockies. Talk about your Rocky Mountain High! Shehacol Y’all

  7. Shehacol indeed! I wish they would release these special wine cask finishes to the public! I’ve heard about them and everyone seems to rave!! I need to get another bottle. Mine, I am sad to say, is empty. Which batch was your favorite and which do you have now on your shelf? Shabbat Shalom!

  8. Shehacol indeed! I wish they would release these special wine cask finishes to the public! I’ve heard about them and everyone seems to rave!! I need to get another bottle. Mine, I am sad to say, is empty. Which batch was your favorite and which do you have now on your shelf? Shabbat Shalom!

  9. So: I've spent a bit of time at Stranahan's, and I'd like to point something out about thier whiskey–and whisk(e)y in general.

    When a distillery releases a whisk(e)y with an age statement, unless the whisk(e)y is a single-barrel release, all of the whisk(e)y in the bottle is not necessarily the age of the age statement–that is only a statement of the youngest whisk(e)y in the bottle.

    This is certainly the case with Stranahan's. I've had the privilege of tasting Stranahan's at 6 months of age, 1 year, 1 year 6 months, 2 years and so on until about 6 years old. Young Strannie's is delicious: like an orange creamsicle. But it's very simple. We whisk(e)y snobs want a complex dram, do we not?

    5 year old Stranahan's is extremely complex; very mature for 5 years. This is because the whiskey is matured in new oak–as is bourbon–but also because it is matured in a special environment. They're small enough to be able to control the environment the barrels are aging in.

    But 5 year old Stanahan's is very woody. While it's complex, it's also astringent and very intense. They could choose a happy middle–say, 3 years, 6 months–but they'd sacrifice some of the creaminess of the young, and some of the complexity of the very old.

    So, brilliantly I think, they marry together a batch of Stranahan's of varying ages using 12-24 barrels ages 2 years to 5 years using their noses and experience to make up a batch that has both the creaminess of the young, and the complexity of the old.

    So some of the whiskey is 2 years old–but not all. Stanahan's is, in my not so humble opinion, a beaultifully thought out triumph, using brains and innovation to add to the long and distinguished tradition of making whisk(e)y.

    –Charlie

  10. Hey,

    The wine cask finished Stanahan's–called Snowflakes, because each one is unique–are available to the public. But since each batch is small–say 300 or so bottles–they don't make it into distibution, and therefore are not in your liquor stores. Alas, the only way to get them is at the distillery–and, they sell out quick. In fact, as of this writing they are out.

    But rest assured, more are aging. You can keep a watch for them at the Stranahan's website (obvious URL).

    Charlie

  11. Charlie, thank you for this great and insightful comment! I agree with you, Stranahan's is a Triumph. Since this review I've tried two other batches and both were unique and uniquely “Stranahan's”. If I ever do get out to Colorado I will surely visit their distillery and see if I can get my hands on a bottle of their Snowflake whiskey.

  12. I have to agree with your comments. I find this an excellent whiskey. I first saw it on the Discovery channel DVD on Whiskey. The spirit Sommelier review made me seek it out. I get it mail order from New Jersey for $46.
    http://www.superwinewarehouse.com/r/products/stranahan-s-colorado-whiskey

    The first bottle had the distinct flavor of apples and was very fruity. Subsequent bottles were never the same. I am not sure if this is a plus or adventure. I also agree the finish after you swallow is quite amazing.

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