DSR – NC – 009: CB Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey
Company/Distillery: Greensboro Distilling Co./Fainting Goat Spirits, LLC
Location: Greensboro, NC
Mash Bill: 60% Rye, 30% Corn, and 10% Malted 2 Row Barley
Age Statement: NAS (At least 2 years old)
Proof/ABV: 92.3 Proof/ 46.15% ABV
Color & Viscosity: Rich golden honey; Nice slow legs on the glass
Purchase Price: $44.95 from NC ABC store August 2020; 750 ml
Bottle Label Information:
“Straight Rye Whiskey”
“Artisanal Spirits | Family Owned”
“Fainting Goat Spirits”
“Handcrafted Small Batch”
“Straight Rye Whiskey”
“Distilled and Bottled by Fainting Goat Spirits LLC, Greensboro, NC”
“Small batches handcrafted in North Carolina”
“Batch 6, Bottle 33”
“C.B. Fisher led men to battle, gambled his life savings on a gold mine, turned swampland into playgrounds, and left a mark everywhere he went. As a result; streets, neighborhoods, and city parks bear his name. The legend of his adventures gathered strangers together. Strangers became friends, friends became family, and for that we created our whiskey in his honor. Our grain to glass straight rye whiskey is handcrafted from North Carolina rye and aged in New American white oak barrel. Once matured, our barrels are hand selected by our Master Distiller to share with the world. Marrying notes of caramelized orange peels, freshly cracked black pepper, banana bread, and creamy toffee, our straight rye whiskey hopes to bring you together over your own tall tales and cocktails.”
“History made by hand by people who give a damn.”
“Distilled and bottled by Fainting Goat Spirits, Greensboro, NC”
Greensboro Distilling Co./Fainting Goat Spirits
Greensboro Distilling Co./Fainting Goat Spirits was founded as a family-owned, small business in December 2015, by the husband and wife team of Bill Norman and Shelley Johnson Norman. Mr. Norman, who serves as Master Distiller, previously trained at The Culinary Institute of America in French cuisine where he mastered the ability to hone his palate. Mrs. Norman brings her passion for entrepreneurship and business management to Greensboro Distilling Co. The couple is joined by their children Andrew Norman, who serves as Master Blender, and Lesly Norman Hobbs, who brings a wealth of business experience, rounding out the Greensboro Distilling Co. management team.
The idea to distill spirits was hatched when Mr. Norman went on a tour of a distillery in Seattle, Washington while on vacation. It was on this trip that Mr. Norman quickly realized that his expertise in the kitchen would make him well-suited to own and run a distillery. Upon returning home, Mr. Norman reached out to his son, Andrew, who had taken a recent interest in home brewing and liquor infusions. The father and son duo would then begin to experiment and practice distilling before finally taking the plunge and launching the distillery. The dream became reality in December 2015 when they received their Distilled Spirits Plant (DSP) authorization.
Greensboro Distilling Co. is a grain-to-glass distillery, using fresh North Carolina corn, wheat, and rye grown on a farm in nearby Marshville, North Carolina. On a typical day at the distillery one can find the Normans grinding and mashing their own grains for the fermentation process. Their hands on approach doesn’t stop there, as the Normans continue to be active in the process through distillation with their Artisan Still Design still, aging in new American Oak barrels, and bottling their products.
Greensboro Distilling Co./Fainting Goat Spirits currently produces Tiny Cat Small Batch Vodka, CB Fisher’s American Single Malt Whiskey, Emulsion New American Gin, and CB Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey. In addition to the above selections, the company is also working on a 4-year-old bourbon whiskey scheduled for release in December 2020. A little something to look forward to in 2020!
Additional information regarding the distillery and its products can be found on their website.
CB Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey
CB Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey is distilled by Greensboro Distilling Co./Fainting Goat Spirits using rye grain from North Carolina. The whiskey is produced using a mash bill of 60% rye, 30% corn, and 10% two-row malted barley. It is then aged for at least 2 years in new American oak barrels that have been charred to level of Char #4. Andrew Norman, in an email to Rickhouse Ramblings, stated that, “Our Straight Rye Whiskey is one of our favorite products that we make.” And boy does it show–recently, Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey was awarded Double Gold by Cigar & Spirits World Spirits Competition. It was named the 2nd best Rye Whiskey in the world, a recognition shared with the famous Pappy Van Winkle 15 year bourbon. To add to that honor, they also beat out the likes of Blanton’s and other bourbon “royalty”. CB Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey also won Gold in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and Gold in the New York International Spirits Competition in 2019.
Rickhouse Ramblings would like to thank Master Blender/Distiller Andrew Norman for responding to our request for information and providing details about the distillery and CB Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey! Cheers!
Tasting Date/Vessel: September 27, 2020 – Neat in Glencairn Glass
Christian: My first sniff of CB Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey quickly brings a modest essence of bananas and brown sugar. As I allow the whiskey to sit longer in my glass with intermittent swirls, a sweetness like a buttered sweet roll comes to mind. This rye whiskey has a fantastic nose with a punch of sweet, warm, and inviting aromas. The addition of water really turns this into a caramel bomb. An ever so slight and unexpected hint of floral aromas also enters the picture.
Mike: Initially, I get a faint hint of sliced bananas with peanut butter. Nosing in deeper produces a gentle ethanol burn that transitions to a wine-like aroma, reminiscent of a light wine. A swirl of the glass really releases the peanut butter notes then immediately fades back to that wine scent from earlier. I find myself constantly swirling the glass, as I really enjoy the peanut butter aromas.
Christian: The mouth feel on this whiskey seems light and silky. When taking a sip, your mouth quickly detects a pleasant sweetness. That sweetness quickly transitions to a tasty trio of caramel syrup, leather, and oatmeal. As I allow the whiskey to linger on my palate, a slight bitterness and black pepper kick arise, both subtle yet apparent. Water had minimal impact on the flavor profile with leather, toasted brown sugar, and molasses primarily present.
Mike: My first sip presents a very thin mouth feel. I notice a very sweet flavor on the tip of my tongue, The flavor of a brand new baseball mitt consumes the middle of the tongue, then fills the mouth. Picture diving your face into a freshly oiled baseball mitt and you can imagine the mouthfeel of this pour. Processed tobacco flavors linger on the back-end then transition nicely to a burnt orange peel aroma. The burnt orange peel reminds me of when I was a kid and my mom or dad would peel an orange for breakfast and lay the peel, skin side down, on the burner of the stove. The citrus oils would fill the house and create a most pleasant aroma.
Christian: CB Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey has a really pronounced and long finish. The flavor profile evolves in the finish to include a slight hint of tobacco alongside additional notes of leather. As time begins to pass, the finish slowly transitions into a delicate taste of citrus, similar to orange, and some coriander. Even with the addition of water, the finish remained pronounced and relatively long, however it does lose a bit of its edge. A black pepper kick remained with the hint of citrus rising in the end.
Mike: This pour contains a medium to long finish with a nice peppery kick that lingers down the throat into the chest. The leather and tobacco flavors balance themselves nicely on the finish, very faint but definitely noticeable.
Christian: Recent postings by Fainting Goat Spirits on Facebook caught my eye and peaked my interest in their CB Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey. I am glad that we decided to go ahead and pick this bottle up and give it a try. This particular rye whiskey is by far my favorite, in its class, that we have reviewed so far. Fisher’s tantalizing nose, enjoyable flavor profile, and pronounced yet congenial finish really provide a nice total whiskey experience. I also enjoyed this whiskey in an Old Fashioned. The rye whiskey really held up nicely to the addition of simple syrup, aromatic bitters, and expressed orange peel. A price of $44.95 seems to offer a reasonable value for the quality and will not prevent me from keeping a bottle of this on my bar.
Rating: 3.50 Rickhouses
Mike: This is a nice offering from Fainting Goat Spirits. I’m not an aficionado of rye whiskies, but this one seems well balanced. I enjoyed the silky start and soft burn at the end. None of the flavors are overly strong, they just play well together. I enjoyed this neat, but it mixes amazingly well in an Old Fashioned. Overall, a very enjoyable pour for a 2-year whiskey.
Rating: 2.75 Rickhouses