Roughstock Montana Spring Wheat Whiskey Review

Whiskey Name: Roughstock Montana Spring Wheat Whiskey

Distillery: Roughstock

Whiskey Type: Wheat whisky

Release Date: General

Price: £45

Age: NAS

ABV: 45%

Mashbill: 100% hard white spring wheat


Introduction/Background: Roughstock are one of the older craft distilleries, at a stately 12 years. They were the first legal distillery in Montana for over 100 years, and like so many other craft distilleries they love a bit of wheat.

Their bourbon popped up in our month of reviews back in August, and I wasn’t a huge fan. A bit raw; a bit acetone-y. Often a problem with young wheaters in my opinion, and we’ve chatted to a load of distillers now who seem to agree.

But wheat is just such a trendy grain, and more and more straight wheat whiskies have been cropping up. Reservoir do an absolutely smashing one, and I don’t mind the stuff that Dry Fly put together either.

So I thought I’d jump back into the wheat whisky water and have another go at Roughstock. They’re one of the craft distilleries that actually has some UK presence, meaning you can buy this through the obvious channels for under £50. It’s aged in used barrels for a little while before being finished in French oak.

Appearance: Very pale. Light gold really.

Nose: Not much to smell here, to be honest. Light and faint. Being slightly brutal it’s more than a smidge reminiscent of new make, albeit a little sweeter, and with some of the rougher edges sanded down. Sherbet lemons. Hay. Acetone (though mercifully curbed). Unripe bananas.

Mouth: Sweet, astringent, raw and rather low on flavour. Like a sort of dilute, very sugary cereal solution. There’s a very little bit of clove somewhere if you really strain, but that’s as far as the European oak seems to go, and it disappears again very swiftly, returning to sugar and grain and acetone. Texture’s decent, but everything else is a bit bland.

Finish: Short.

Value for Money: Not for me.

Summary: Bland, really. I’ve seen it written up as an ‘aperitif’ elsewhere, but that seems to be clawing around for positives, when this is actually just pretty dull. I don’t know that it’s ‘unpleasant’ per se – there’s just not much really there except some sweetness.

It’s a shame; I’d like to like the Roughstock stuff more, but this is just a bit raw. A bit too close to white spirit for my money; a bit too low on character. People will say ‘oh he just doesn’t like wheat’, but that’s not true. Properly aged wheat is a wonderful thing. But if you’re going to work with wheat you need to give yourself time, or active casks. And this whiskey has had neither.

Nothing to write home about. Nothing to mention across the room about.

Overall Verdict: Very avoidable.