Upon the arrival of our third batch of Cut Spike yesterday, I immediately popped a bottle and took a quick sip. A huge smile quickly washed over my face. "It's the best parts of batch one and two combined!" I said to Kyle. "It still has tremendous richness, but it's really moved beyond the core of creaminess. It's beginning to develop its own house style." The tremendous achievement inside these bottles is not only the deliciousness of the whisky, but the fact that the Cut Spike truly has its own unique character. It's not just a good tasting single malt; it's full of spruce, and ginger, and other exotic elements that are completely unlike any other whisky I've tasted. But where do those flavors come from? In an attempt to learn more about what exactly goes on over there in Nebraska, I reached out to distiller Jason Payne for a more detailed explanation.
Here's what he had to say:
I have listed some of the "magic stuff" that I think makes Cut Spike Single Malt Whiskey unique and special! Let me know if this is what you were thinking.
1) The limestone filtered water from the Ogallala Aquifer that we ship in from the Sandhills of Nebraska is something, as far as I'm aware, nobody else is doing. The water is truly delicious, and acts as the perfect compliment to our hand-crafted whiskey when proofing the spirit. Hardly touched by the elements of man, the liquid is pumped directly from the Blue Spring Creek that runs beneath the prairie land of the Sandhills. Only a simple filtering process is implemented that removes sand and sediment before it is packaged and shipped off to the distillery.
2) We should not disregard that fact that our stills are hand-pounded copper stills produced in the far land of Scotland. Hailing from the mecca of great whiskey, our pot stills were constructed by a family run company that has been producing whiskey stills since the early 20th century. This company has been producing stills for many of the renowned distilleries of Scotland, and we are fortunate to have two traditional pot stills here in our distillery in Nebraska. Even more interesting, is that the design of our stills is based off the design of one of our favorite distilleries (I think I don't want to reveal exactly which distillery our stills are modeled after - it may be proprietary info). When producing a premium whiskey, the exact shape of the still being used matters, just ask the Scottish. We modeled our stills off one of the best distilleries out there, but exactly who that is will have to remain confidential...
3) The blend of barrels we use to age the whiskey is ever evolving as we continue to hone our craft and strive to create one of the best whiskeys around. The barrels we buy are premium dry-aged barrels used to promote maximum interaction between the wood and the whiskey. We implement new charred oak barrels in our aging process, and then blend the whiskey that has been aged in barrels of different char levels ranging from toasted to a #4 (alligator) char. Used bourbon barrels and freshly emptied wine casks are used in finishing single malt aging process. The distillers at Cut Spike distillery have a proprietary blend that gives Cut Spike its own unique flavor. The exact blend will remain a secret with the distillers.
4) Before whiskey there must be beer - without the hops that is! We are fully trained brewers who decided to jump into the distilling world. So making whiskey wash was our expertise upon entering this wonderful world, and making a great wash is the first step to making a great whiskey. First and foremost, we use only the highest quality suppliers of barley. We have quality control measures throughout the process that do everything from: calculating fermentable sugars in the wash to maximize yields, counting yeast cells for proper fermentations, controlling the temperatures of these fermentations to reduce unwanted by-products, and resting the wash for at the appropriate temperature and for the appropriate length of time to "clean" the wash before distillation. All these controls and measures ensure that we are producing consistent wash at the highest quality. And this is not something that can be learned overnight. It is as much a desired skill as that of distilling amazing spirits.
Does that explain it? I don't know. All I know is that this batch of Cut Spike is bigger than the last batch, and despite the greater amount of available bottles, I expect it to sell even faster than previously once we launch the email notice. It's the best batch yet, which is really saying something.