drink sample a lot of whiskey and enjoy every last drop. Â In all of those samplings there are aromas, flavors and general experiences that run throughout. Â Vanilla, caramel, spices, oak, whiskeyness if you will. Â So, when a new whiskey comes through my door I expect those basics in varying quantities and qualities. Â Whipnose Whiskey from Seven Stills of San Francisco turned that whole expectation on its head. Â The description of how this whiskey was created is best left to the Seven Stills distillers.
Whipnose is the first in Seven Stillsâ€™ Collaboration Series. Â For this project we partnered with Pacific Brewing Laboratory, located in San Francisco. Â We started by distilling each of Pac Brew Labâ€™s beers to see if we could make a unique whiskey, and as soon as we tasted the whiskey made from their double IPA we were blown away. Â Shortly after we brewed 60 barrels of Whipnose IPA, and distilled it into 165 gallons of whiskey, and aged it in new American Oak Barrels.
The name â€œWhipnoseâ€ aptly describes the whip of hop aroma this whiskey opens up with. Â The taste is rich malt, dark dried fruits (plums, prunes), light vanilla, toasted oak, and finishes with a smooth, lingering maple syrup.
That whip of hop aroma they mention is absolutely true. Â It blew me away as well. Â I would never have expected the hop aroma and flavor to carry through to the whiskey so directly, but it’s there with conviction.
The aroma hits you first with hops – citrusy, floral, exactly what you’d expect. Â Then you get classic whiskey aromas of vanilla, caramel and notes of dried fruits in the background. Â The flavor is unlike any whiskey I’ve tasted. Â In my notes I wrote “quizzical look” and if you picture a dog turning it’s head to the side, you’ll know exactly what I looked like. Â There is fruitiness like crazy in Whipnose, both citrus notes from the hops and dried fruits (cherry, prune). Â You get the standard whiskeyness of vanilla, caramel and oak as well, but the fruit is the star. Â The floral aspect of the hops is there as well, but more of a background player. Â Finally, the finish is light and slightly sweet with a very pleasant hint of bitterness from the hops.
This is a whiskey I would slow sip and enjoy the complexity as it warms in your hand. Â But my brain wouldn’t let it go at that, I had to try it in a Boulevardier. Â I went with 2:1:1; Whipnose, Sweet Vermouth and Campari and it was a stroke of genius. Â The resulting cocktail retained the floral aroma of the hops and the citrus and bitter qualities of the Campari teamed up with the same in the Whipnose. Â The complex herbal qualities of the vermouth round it all out. Â If it’s possible toÂ mourn the passing of a cocktail, I certainly did when my glass went dry on this one.
On the very large plus side, a second release is in the works. Â Hopefully soon!
â€ The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.