Sonoma County West of Kentucky Bourbon No.1

Whiskey Name: Sonoma County West of Kentucky Bourbon No.1

Distillery: Sonoma County Distilling Co.

Whiskey Type: Rye recipe bourbon

Release Date: General release

Price: £58

Age: NAS

ABV: 47.8%

Mashbill: Can’t find percentages. Corn, unmalted rye and barley smoked over cherrywood

Introduction/Background: See today’s brand new blog piece! 

Appearance: Bright hazel.

Nose: Bright, rather citrussy nose; we’re talking oranges and lemons. Gets out of the glass pretty quickly. There’s a woody smokiness that complements the liveliness of the rye, all overlaid with fresh caramel, rounding things out. Young, but not immature or one-note. 

Mouth: The grain becomes a little more apparent as some buttery corn appears. Again, lots of fruit; all of it fresh, rather than dried, and with red berries atop the citrus. Feels like a springtime bourbon! There’s sufficient roundness of texture to counteract the prickly alcohol; in fact the texture just might be the star of the show, and I’d bet any money that the alembic stills are to thank for that.

Finish: Touches of caramel and clove. Spicy, and slightly hot.

Value for Money: Priced a little high, but not outrageously so.

Summary: When it comes to craft whiskey you’re never sure whether you’re going to get young or immature. Happily Sonoma is the former. The price is admittedly slightly high, as is the case with most of these smaller operations. I do appreciate the reasons behind this, but obviously £58 is a lot of money, so it’s worth trying before you buy. Or split a bottle with a few fellow enthusiasts and spread the cost.

I think these guys are one of the better craft setups out there though, and run by lovely people too. I’m really hoping for a chance to speak to Adam Spiegel a bit more at the Whisky Show this year, and I look forward to seeing what Sonoma do next. (I’d love to see a cherrywood-smoked single malt!)

Overall Verdict: An exuberant youngster with a lot of interest. One to seek out! (And definitely try their rye too. That mouthfeel…)

Words by WhiskyPilgrim