First Nebraska, and now Wyoming! The boom in whisky demand has not only caused distillery construction and expansion in traditional whiskymaking regions like Scotland, Kentucky and Ireland, but has also led to a new generation of upstart distilleries in unlikely places. Since you can build a distillery anywhere there’s supportive laws and clean natural water sources, and because you can basically truck in your grains from anywhere, the map is wide open to anyone who can acquire the startup capital.
On July 4th, 2009, Wyoming Whiskey began distilling in the tiny town of Kirby, Wyoming, making it the first legal distillery in the history of the state of Wyoming. Determined to do things their way, they source all of their grain from Wyoming farms growing Non-GMO corn, wheat, and barley. That’s pretty cool, and outside of an organic one-off release or two from other producers, is the first time I’ve seen mention of Non-GMO grains from a whiskey distillery. The water supply is an on-site deep limestone aquifer. The Wyoming Whiskey small batch wheated bourbon is distilled from a mashbill of corn, wheat, and barley and is aged in new charred white oak barrels for five years (or so – there’s no age statement on the bottle). Then it’s bottled at 44% ABV and retails for around $40.
Thanks to Ashley at Wyoming Whiskey, I was able to try a sample of their Batch #30, bottled 8/20/2015.
Nose: Satisfyingly deep wheater aroma – butterscotch and caramel, fresh-baked scones and dripping vanilla frosting. The aroma has no characteristics of “young” spirits: no grassiness or acetone, and at this bottling strength is round and fully present in the nose. After a rest in the glass, there is the faintest aroma of dried apricots.
Palate: A tinge of oaky tannin upfront, which is washed over by waves of soft grains with a sweet sugary glaze. Not cloying, but distinctly sweet (not dry, or spicy). A tad hot for 44% ABV.
Finish: Of medium length, and warming. No bitterness here, just echoes of the bakery treats and vanilla notes. Pleasant and well-made.
With Water: Several drops of water reveal dusty dried apples and blood orange peels, and dampen some of the sweetness. The water also tames some of the tongue burn, so a few drops don’t go amiss here.
Overall: An impressive whisky for a seven year-old distillery. A five year-old bourbon with this much sweetness and elegance, no spirity detractors of youth, and a $40 average price? Yes please! A solid Recommended, and if you’re from, live in, just kinda like, or have anything whatsoever to do with Wyoming, this is a Must Have for you!
Update 9/23/2016: Tom from Tom’s Foolery asked me to take another look at the Foolery and compare it to Wyoming Whisky. Witness the Grudge Match here.