The Wait Is Over.
It’s been a hell of a Championship weekend. The Capitals won Lord Stanley’s Cup on Thursday, Warriors steam-rolled the Cavs on Friday, Justify took the Triple Crown on Saturday, and now…Woodinville Whiskey has arrived! The American Distilling Institute crowned Woodinville Bourbon Whiskey of the Year in 2016. And just like the Warriors, they went back to back with Rye of the Year in 2017. Now in 2018, Woodinville is finally available outside of Washington State!
What makes a champion whiskey? People don’t want sourced whiskey with dubious label claims about a 200 year history. They want an authentic product, made well, and a company with the patience to turn it into great whiskey before trying to sell it. Woodinville founders Brett and Orlin heard the message loud and clear. When they opened in 2010, Woodinville worked hard and delivered.
From conception they set out to build something focused around their community in Washington and on extraordinary quality. You can’t make great whiskey without great grain. They found third generation farmers who know their land and know what it takes to pull the best grains from the earth. Then they made a commitment to that farm and joined the family. All of Woodinville’s grain is grown on the Omlin Family Farm in Quincy, Washington.
Despite a passion for whiskey and a tremendous vision, Brett and Orlin didn’t have extensive experience making whiskey, so they sought out the best teacher. From Day 1, the distillery set up and operation has been guided by David Pickerell, famous for his 14 years as master distiller at Maker’s Mark. From the incredible foundation of great farming and distilling knowledge they added the most important trait for making great whiskey: patience.
Everything they make goes into 53 gallon barrels. No short cuts here. They wisely limited their early releases to their local market while building stocks for the future. As the whiskey quietly aged, Woodinville raked-in award after award. But without a trip to the Evergreen State, you couldn’t get a bottle. Until now. It’s finally time to reap the rewards of their patience and forethought. Their two incredible flagship whiskeys were just released exclusively in Northern California.
Coming in between 5 and 6 years old, the bourbon is a high rye mash. It sings with sweet corn, beautiful spice, a little chocolate, and a mellow finish. It’s rich and smooth. It’s absolutely wonderful on its own or in an Old Fashioned.
Pour the rye in your glass and you can't help but be struck by the nose. It is ethereal. I was taken aback by the wonderful fruitiness to it. The baking spices make an obvious appearance and meld with the fruity tones perfectly. The palate is full of honey, bits of pepper, a touch of fresh cut grass, and cinnamon sugar. The finish is stunningly long.
Remarkably, the most incredible achievement of Brett and Orlin isn’t necessarily the whiskey itself. It’s the fact that they’ve done all of this and managed to sell both the rye and bourbon for under 40 bucks! It’s the creation of real value that makes them champions in my book.
- Andrew Whiteley