Origin: Wisconsin (USA)
Type: American Whiskey
Added colouring: No
Owner: Dream Whisky
Official website: dreamwhisky.com
With just a few months delay, we complete the American Oak line with the two blends released in 2021, made with distillates from the now closed Death’s Door in Wisconsin and produced in collaboration with the Jerry Thomas Project.
These are bottlings intended for mixology but also designed to be consumed on their own, with all the flair and creativity to which the Maltagliati&Mazzieri duo have accustomed us by now, starting with the decidedly… unusual labels!
Creative Blend #1
Ageing casks: Virgin and ex-Bourbon
Average price: € 80.00
That clown George Washington (taken from the dollar note) introduces us to an assemblage of five different casks, again from Death’s Door, which contained column-distilled (bourbon), bain-marie (rye), classic still (single malt) and a brewer malt whiskey, created by blending pot still malt and column-distilled grain, aged in casks that contained Heaven Hill bourbon.
A very special composition, which cannot fail to intrigue even the most algid whiskey drinkers.
The nose expresses a rough, woody sweetness in which molasses, chestnut honey, ripe banana and apple strudel are soaked in resin and freshly cut wood, with injections of pine needles and nutmeg that plunge the aromas into a forest in search perhaps of the Blair Witch. Slight citrus notes and a balsamic touch are smeared over a sweetness that becomes less fiery over time, with veins of enamel and coffee grounds to dampen the spirits. Prismatic.
On the palate, that impression of coffee perceived at length on the nose returns, with the sweetness pervaded by more bitter ambitions that lift the tones with a certain peppery vivacity, scattering liquorice, aniseed, more resin and the whole compartment of sugary pastiness embodied in maple syrup and toffee. It soon becomes astringent, with the growth of ginger and bitter cocoa accompanied by tones of fennel and violet, the wood beating peremptorily on the flavours and a general sensation of anarchic cheerfulness.
The fairly long finish takes the vegetal and caffeine route with flashes of sweetness and cocoa.
A kind of bignami of US distilled spirits living together in a quirky, carefree commune like the hippies of the golden age. Unbalanced and a little unhinged, like the clown with Nolan-esque reminiscences on the label, but fun for that very reason.
Creative Blend #2
Ageing casks: Virgin and ex-Rum
Average price: € 80.00
Still five casks, combining column-distilled bourbon, bain-marie rye, pure malt aged in former Jamaican rum casks and single malt pot still.
On the label, the graffitied restyling is Benjamin Franklin as it appears on the $100 note.
On the nose, the sweetness chooses a sugary, tropical path, with passion fruit, coconut, toffee, porridge, muscovado sugar and nuts in honey. At times, it evokes panforte. The risk of becoming corny is averted by a streak of nutmeg and aniseed, with a slightly toasted, vegetal note emerging along the length.
It glides very oily and compact on the palate, with a sweetness that veers shamelessly towards sugar, almost like sugar water (but alcoholic) with tropical fruit and cereals. Lots of honey, maple syrup, orange gelèe, glazed hazelnuts, banana gumdrops… an explosion of flavours that would make a diabetic shake in his boots, countered (in vain) by vegetal and spicy notes that aspire to revenge, especially in length.
The finish has peppery and somewhat dry notes on the buttery sweetness that lingers for a long time between the lips and palate, where, however, the vegetal part gains more vigour.
An all in all balanced bomb of sweetness on the nose that explodes in the mouth, clearly dependent on personal taste as to whether or not you like it: personally, I found it excessive, bordering on cloying, perhaps more suitable for mixology than for consumption on its own.