WYOMING WHISKEY PRIVATE STOCK
Single barrel 6113 selected by K&L (2020)
MASH BILL – 68% corn, 20% winter wheat, 12% barley
PROOF – 114.4
AGE – NAS (5 years 7 months according to K&L)
DISTILLERY – Wyoming Whiskey
PRICE – $65
WORTH BUYING? – Yes
Sometimes the reason to buy a bottle of whiskey is that it is very much unlike anything else. Not an old standby. Not a comfortingly familiar taste. No nostalgia. Little one can quite compare it to. If you don’t like the taste, then of course it will be a disappointment. But if you do enjoy it to any degree, then there’s that, which is great; But also the opportunity to grapple with a new experience that demands your attention and consideration.
I had a single barrel of Wyoming Whiskey a handful of years ago that really didn’t agree with me. It was older than this current barrel by almost a full year. The flavors were startling, with sweet cedar, vanilla, and something like a buttery wood varnish. Odd. Interesting, for sure. But it upset my stomach every time I had it. Other whiskeys don’t do this. I couldn’t explain it. I tried watering it down to varying degrees, which helped a bit. But the stomach upset in combination with the unappealing varnish note, which grew more intrusive over the life of the bottle, ruined it for me.
Five years have passed since then and my palate has been expanding season by season. When I saw this store pick pop up at K&L, I decided to give Wyoming Whiskey another go. Maybe it, I, or both have changed?
At uncorking it immediately leapt at me with its colorful array of flavors. But no stomach upset! Nevertheless, I wanted to take my time with it. It was as unusual as I remembered, only now not as startlingly so after five years of many whiskeys…
So here we are, six weeks since uncorking and a handful of pours into the bottle. These brief notes were taken using a traditional Glencairn.
COLOR – sienna ambers fading into a spectrum of oranges
NOSE – Woah! Here we go… Bright and vibrant cedar, tart but soft vanilla-caramel, subtle oak, fresh cut lawn grass, a fresh dusting of cinnamon, ripe apricots, fresh mountain spring water, fresh cut Spring grasses
TASTE – follows through on the nose, with creamy and syrupy textures commingling to carry along the vanilla-caramel, cedar, fresh cut lawn, those apricots now tart like the caramel…
FINISH – a light peppery tingle on the outskirts of a central cooling warmth, the bright sweet aspects of the aromas and flavors lingering together on a slow fade like a Spring sunset
OVERALL – unusual, bright, Springy, a refreshing and very particular experience, very unlike anything else on my shelf right now
Well now. The closest thing I can compare this to is a McKenzie wheated single barrel I had over a year ago. Looking back on that bottle’s notes, they are actually remarkably similar. The Mckenzie’s mash bill is also similar at 70% corn, 20% wheat, and 10% malted barley. But McKenzie is out of New York, a very different terroir than Wyoming. Both distilleries emphasize their use of local grains and water, so of course they’re drawing on entirely different sources. Yet these whiskeys seem very much like fraternal twins separated at birth. Very interesting.
There is something happy about this whiskey. It’s in a good mood. It is a little much, I’ll admit. (That unexpectedly enjoyable fresh cut lawn aspect is counterintuitive.) But I can’t deny my own mood brightening a bit, even as I feel slightly overwhelmed by the whiskey’s energy. It’s like being with a very upbeat friend in a moment when, though you appreciate them, their high energy is a bit too intense for your own need to rev down to a low-key vibe.
Interesting how one’s personal mood on a given day lends itself toward or away from a whiskey’s own “mood.” This whiskey might be a great match for a lively and loud conversation, or a party with happy dance music playing. I’m reminded of certain old Paramore songs, with their happiness-inducing upbeats even when the lyrics are digging into serious things like depression or overwhelm or anxiety. This bourbon could serve as a pick-me-up on a hard day.
Or, I might want to keep things lower key and reach for something darker, cozier, more calming. On the day I’m writing up these notes—with the weather both chilly and sunny, and my long work week pulling me down with frustrations—I can appreciate it. I’ll enjoy this one pour, and then likely reach for something a bit more zen to help me mellow out.
I’ll never know why that first bottle of Wyoming Whiskey from five years ago didn’t agree with my stomach. I’m so glad to be able to enjoy this new bottle without that upset. And, as a person of many moods, I’m glad to know I have this dependable pick-me-up on the shelf for when I need it!