A Pleasant Surprise From This Northwest American Single Malt

I was first introduced to Wanderback Whiskey in an email from their founder. The imagery on the site was beautiful. They won Double Gold from American Distilling Institute. Even the bottle design was great. I wanted to dig a little deeper and grabbed a bottle of both batches. I was almost preparing myself for a let down because everything seemed too perfect. Wow! I was wrong and blown away by the complexity and balance of this whiskey. American Single Malt has become the category I'm watching closest.

But, that's enough from me. Here's a full review of this whiskey from Seelbach's team member Dee Jones.

Wanderback Whiskey Review

Wanderback has a unique production process for its American single malt whiskey. The process reflects its emphasis on adventure and passion for exploration.
The first two releases come from a locally sourced Washington Pale malt. The pair this malt with three specialty malts. Wanderback collaborates Westland distillery (Seattle, WA) for distillation. The whiskey is aged, blended and bottled back in Hood River, Oregon by the folks at Wanderback.
 
Each release is expected to be different. Wanderback's mission is to take you on a journey of flavors with each release. So far, they've been successful.

Batch No. 1

Location: Hood River, OR
Proof: 90
Age: 3 years
Release: Summer, 2017  
Barrel: 53-Gallon Charred New Oak
Grain Bill: 88/8/2/2  (Washington select pale malt/Crystal Malt/Pale chocolate malt/Munich Malt)
Glance: Batch No. 1 has a beautiful golden honey color and a light oiliness that indicates pot still distillation.   
Nose: Initial spice and nuttiness on the front end, followed by notes of a darker fruit such as plum and slight citrus – perhaps orange peel.  
Pallet: Drier on the pallet than anticipated, with a smokiness from the chocolate malt, hints of tobacco, chocolate, and dark fruits. The finish is relatively long, with a bit of spice and slight salinity at the end.  
Cocktail recommendation: Neat or with a cube of ice / Old Fashioned 

Batch No. 2


Location: Hood River, OR
Proof: 100
Age: 3+ years
Release: Fall, 2018 
Grain Bill: 88/8/2/2  (Washington select pale malt/Crystal Malt/Pale chocolate malt/Munich Malt) 
Barrel: 53-Gallon Charred New Oak. Finished in ex-Nicaraguan rum casks and Heaven Hill ex-bourbon casks for 6-9 months. 
Glance: Batch No. 2 has a darker more Amber color and slight heavier oiliness, likely due to its time in the rum casks. 
Nose: Strong woodsy notes, honey, and fall fruits such as pears and apples. 
Pallet: Dry & oaky, with hints of spice, oranges and a long finish ending with a delicious sweet & salty sensation. 
Cocktail recommendation: Sidecar

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Wandering Sidecar

2 oz Wanderback Whiskey Batch No. 2
.5 oz Cointreau
.5 oz Lemon Juice
Sugar and orange blossom garnish

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