Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Booze On Parade: Wasmund's Single Malt Whisky

I recently got my hands on a bottle of a relatively new whisky that's been written up in the Washington Post. God its awful...

Mr. Wasmund's gimmick is that he claims to have found a way to "obtain optimal maturity much faster". Rather than spending years barrel aging the whisky he's got some sort of secret process that extracts color and flavor from the wood in a matter of months. The bottle that I have (from batch #3, per the label) proudly states that the whisky is 4 months old.

Obviously I don't know exactly what he's doing, but I suspect that the effect is achieved, in part, by increasing the surface to volume ratio of the aging medium. My guess is that he's probably dumping wood chips into the barrel along with the raw whisky.

Whatever method he's using it just isn't producing a quality single malt. I'm open-minded about booze; if I can get good booze for half the price I'm all for it. But this stuff is just bad... it has a bouquet like a woodshop. No, really, I'm serious... it has a smell evocative of wood and paint thinner. And it tastes pretty much the same. The first time I drank it it reminded me of chewing on Popsicle sticks when I was a kid.

So I put it back on the bar and left it alone for awhile, thinking that I'd find a use for it somehow. Then, this evening, I get a hankering for Irish coffee (all you purists in the room can calm down, I know its not Irish coffee without Irish whiskey). So I thought to myself "Self, maybe the coffee will cover up the woodiness". I brewed up some coffee, added cream, sugar, and a slug o'Wasmunds, then took a sip. Imagine my surprise when the coffee really didn't cover up the woodiness at all.

That's what prompted me to write this post here. This stuff isn't good for anything... not mixing, not drinking straight, nothing. It just tastes too much like wood. Two thumbs down.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I too have had the unfortunate experience of actually buying a bottle of Wasmonds. Since I was born and raised in Virginia and have spent many a summer fishing on the Rappahanock river, I was intriqued by a magazine article I read about this new Virginia distillery and their "Rappahannock Pot-Stilled Single Malt Whiskey'. I knew I was gambling with my $35 at the liquor store, but figured since they were local I would give their product a try. The bottle I purchased said "Batch No. 3" on the front, and "4 Months old" on the back.

I can say, without equivocation, that this is the absolute worst whiskey I have ever tasted in my 15 years of sipping spirits, and that is saying a lot. An aroma like fruity paint thinner, so much so you may be afraid to bring the glass to your lips, and a taste not unlike the aroma. It is atrocious. Just god-awful bad. I would not even use it for mixing. I felt like I had been ripped off, and had I been able to return the bottle to the ABC store for a refund, I would have done so immediately. At the least, next time I am there the clerk who told me "I heard some folks say it was pretty good" is going to get some very blunt feedback from me.

I really wanted this whiskey to at least be decent, so I could feel a bit of Virginian pride in their product, and I hope one day they actually learn to make and age a palatable whiskey, but for the time being, I have to try and save others from throwing their money away like I did. If you have any sense of taste whatsoever with respect to whiskey, you will be sorry if you buy this product.

4:05 PM  
Blogger The Inner Marker said...

You two need to give it a try again. Your description of it doesn't come close to my experience. I loved it, and drink it regularly now. Check out Malt Advocates review of its later batches. Really, try it again. If you have the same opinion, we simply have very different opinions of what whisky should be.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Batch No. 33 is ok.

3:18 PM  

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