It's been a while....
I haven’t had a chance to visit any distilleries since July but finally had a chance due to the Christmas break. My wife and I drove to Snohomish to check out some antique stores and a pie shop that received high ratings. I tried the raspberry pie at Snohomish Pie Company, it was very good. This place will give me a reason to make the drive to Snohomish.
Another reason the visit Snohomish is Skip Rock Distillery. I have tried their rye whiskey before and left a review here. I had really hope to score a bottle of their recently released triticale whiskey but they were sold out. I took the offer of 4 samples and chose the white whiskey, 2 kinds of rum and a blackberry liqueur.
The white whiskey is on the smoother side with a warming aftertaste. For those that like to age their own whiskey, whether is a barrel or oak aging sticks, this would be a good start. I’m not a big fan of white whiskies straight, but this wasn’t as bad as some I have tasted. I give it a 4.0 out of 5.
Next were the rums, Belle Rose Light Rum and Belle Rose Amber rum. I found the light rum on par with better quality national brands. It even has a hint of sugar cane when you drink it straight. I give it a 4.5 out of 5. The dark rum is the same as the light rum except it is aged in used bourbon barrels. This would be an excellent spirit to enjoy straight or on the rocks. The flavor is bold enough it would even come through in hot buttered rum. I give it a 4.7 out of 5.
My next sample was desert, Skip Rock blackberry liqueur. It has a very nice balance between sweet and tangy with no hint of tasting like cough syrup. I give it a 4.5 out of 5. I was then offered a sample of the raspberry liqueur. It has a similar flavor profile as the blackberry, the flavor comes through without being syrupy. It too gets a 4.5. My last sample was the spiced apple liqueur. I have been threatening my wife to make some bread pudding and add some kind of liqueur as a finishing kick. I found the perfect item for this. The spiced apple tastes very similar to hot spiced cider but of course has the kick of the alcohol. I left with a bottle of the previously tasted rye (much cheaper than the liquor store) and a bottle of the spiced apple liqueur. Now to find a recipe for bread pudding that will be worthy of the spiced apple.
We left Snohomish heading south on Highway 9 and made out way to the new headquarters of J.P. Trodden Distillery in Maltby. I have read the reviews of their bourbons but have never had a chance to try some. It is some of the highest rated Washington bourbons and now I can find out why.
My first sample was the Black Label bourbon. It is aged 3 years, from the taste, it high char barrels. I found when I tried it straight, it had a bit of a rough edge. I added a splash of water and the goodness came out. The oak came through with a hints of caramel. I find this just a step behind my highest rated bourbons, it gets a 4.4 out of 5.
Next up was their Red Label bourbon. It is aged 4 years and has a richer profile than the 3 year bourbon. Again straight is was a bit rough at first but the flavors come through as you swallow. With a splash of water, like the other sample, the flavors really take off. It has a slightly sweeter finish than the blue label and I detected a peppery hint when swallowed. This was going to be my choice to take home till I tried my next sample.
The Blue Label is Trodden’s top shelf offering. Aged 6 years, this is a refined elixir worthy of the rewards it has received. The first sip was a luscious blend of the oak with some flowery notes. There was no burn going down, just a subtle warming. Like the others, a little bit of water opened the true bouquet of flavors. At $100 a bottle, it better be good. I rate it at 4.9 out of 5. That is why a splurged on a bottle of the blue. This will take its place on the top shelf of my liquor cabinet, it is worthy of that honor.
Another treat offered by J.P. Trodden is barrel aged maple syrup. This was easily the best maple syrup I have ever tasted. Yes, I brought home a bottle of the syrup too. Pancakes are on the menu for breakfast tomorrow.