Wyoming Whiskey K&L Exclusive

Wyoming Whiskey is pushing the frontiers of Bourbon west. In the little town of Kirby a little distillery is putting out some world class whiskey. Kirby is distinctly out of the way. Smack in the middle of the Bighorn Basin where corn, wheat, and barley grow tall and pure limestone water runs beneath the bedrock, the Mead family has worked the land for over 125 years. One of Wyoming’s most prominent families the Meads been raising cattle and ranching in Kirby and Spring Gulch since 1890. When Brad and Kate Mead purchase a winter range for their cattle in Kirby, they realized that they had all the ingredients needed to make great Bourbon right there on the banks of the Bighorn River. The turned to their friend and colleague David Defazio to figure out how the hell to get it all done.

David knew how to run a business, but had no idea how to make Bourbon sought out the best minds in the industry to help make the dream a reality. David brought on bourbon Hall of Famer Steve Nally to develop the plan to build Wyoming’s first Bourbon distillery. Steve had been with Maker’s Mark for more than 30 years and very few people in the world were more qualified to build a distillery and a bourbon brand than he. The Meads spared no expense in the construction of this special distillery. The result was one of the most professionally organized and thoughtfully constructed craft distilleries in the nation.

This all started in 2006, back before the whiskey craze had hit its fever pitch. It may have been hard to predict back then how incredibly strong the market for craft whiskey would become and certainly it takes an incredible commitment to quality to produce anything nearly comparable in quality and price to the industrial distilleries in Kentucky. Furthermore, with the explosion in popularity of wheated bourbon, built on the backs of famous brands like W.L. Weller, Pappy Van Winkle, Old Fitzgerald, and Maker’s Mark, having good aging stocks of hand crafted wheated bourbon must seem like mana from heaven to a craft distiller in the midst of the current whiskey crazed climate. And indeed, this wonderful whiskey does seem to be anointed by a higher power. Very rarely have we come across craft whiskey of this quality. It straddles the line perfectly between being wildly familiar and approachable and offering a unique flavor profile that just doesn’t exist in their Kentucky competitors.

We’re very proud to be the only retail store to have a barrel of this special whiskey and if you’ve tried the Wyoming Whiskey before you’ll know that they’re doing something special, but nothing they’ve released on a large scale compares the wonderful complexity and delicious character of this special cask. Bottled at 113.8 proof with a classic wheated mashbill of 68% corn, 20% wheat, and 12% barley sourced from non-GMO crops all grown within 100 miles of the distillery, this 6.5 years old is the oldest craft whiskey we’ve ever bottled for the store.

Wyoming Whiskey "Private Stock" K&L Exclusive Barrel Strength Single Barrel Straight Bourbon Whiskey $54.99 - This spectacular single barrel from the exceptional craft distillery in Kirby, WY is easily one of the best single casks we've ever received from a true craft manufacturer of bourbon whiskey. Wyoming Whiskey and its Master Distiller, Sam Mead, really know what they're doing over there. They are able to source their grain from local farms, age it properly in full size casks and offer an extremely affordable price even compared to industrial distillers in Kentucky and Indiana. We've tasted these over the last few years and found incredible improvements in their standard release as the average age increase, but we've never come across a craft whiskey quite as special. The fine distillery in Kirby is making wheated bourbons very much in the style of Van Winkle, Old Fitzgerald, Weller, and Maker's, but of course WW is different for in one very particular way, they don't heat the warehouses. That means that the whiskey is subjected to incredible weather extremes that exist in Kirby. The winters are much colder than Kentucky, so you don't get the same intensity of sweet oak early stages; instead the long slow maturation means more complexity. They may not age as quickly as their KY counterparts, but Wyoming Whiskey is without a doubt in the top tier of the nation's craft distillers. We're lucky to be the only retailer in California to receive a single cask of this special whiskey and after 6.5 long years in Kirby this whisky is showing astounding depth and complexity.

-David Othenin-Girard

David Othenin-Girard