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!