DSR – AK – 001: Denali Spirits Single Malt Whiskey
Company/Distillery: Denali Spirits & Distillery
Location: Talkeetna, Alaska
Mash Bill: 75% blend of 100% Irish Malted Barley distilled in 2020 and aged in Denali Brewing Twin Engine Red Barrels (formally bourbon barrels) and 25% 5 malts distilled in May 2020 in charred New American Oak before being transferred to Oloroso Sherry Cask’s and finished for 18 months.
Age Statement: No Age Statement
Proof/ABV: 86 Proof/43% ABV
Color & Viscosity: This whiskey is bottled in a solid flat black colored bottle, so no color could be ascertained from the bottle. Poured into the tasting vessel, this single malt is light chestnut in color and hazy in appearance. There is a thin viscous line when the whiskey is tilted to the side that forms into small beads then develops into slow legs that dribble down the sides of the glass.
Purchase Price: This was brought back from Alaska by a friend of Rickhouse Ramblings
Bottle Label Information:
SINGLE MALT SMALL BATCH WHISKEY
DISTILLED FROM MALTED BARLEY
DISTILLED AND HAND BOTTLED IN TALKEETNA, ALASKA
BATCH #20 | BOTTLE #260/1410 | DATE 6/23 | PROOF 86
DENALI SPIRITS Est. 2016
The finest premium American two row
Small batch, hand crafted & hand packaged
Serve neat or with one ice cube
Whiskey Distilled & Bottled by Denali Spirits & Distillery Talkeetna, Alaska
Denali Spirits & Distillery
Denali Brewing Company, located in the town of Talkeetna, is approximately 110 miles due north of Anchorage, Alaska on a confluence of the Susitna, Chulitna, and Talkeetna Rivers. In 2020, Talkeetna had a population of 1,055 people. Talkeetna is known for being a home base for those looking to embark on expeditions up Denali.
Denali Brewing Company, led by Co-Founder, CEO, and Master Distiller Sassan Mossanen, first opened its doors to the public in the summer of 2009 and specialized in the art of craft brewing. The newest undertaking by the brewery, starting in 2016, was the launch of Denali Spirits. The distillery uses a house made column still built out of spare parts and is named Elsa. Elsa has the ability to produce small batches of roughly four 750 ml bottles per an 8 hour run. In addition to the brewery and Denali Spirits Distillery, the company also owns and operates the Alaska Meadery and Alaska Ciderworks.
Check out this cool vlog, by AK Taproom, showing a detailed tour of Denali Brewing Company and Distillery on YouTube (note: the batch they review in the video is not the same as what Rickhouse Ramblings tastes).
Tasting Date/Vessel: October 23, 2023 – Neat in a Glencairn glass; Then with a cube as suggested by bottle.
Christian: There is absolutely no way I could have anticipated the nose I am getting from this bottle of Denali Spirits Single Malt Whiskey. A quick burst of sweet Welch’s Grape Juice permeates the air and shocks my senses. This sweetness is quickly joined by the essence of malt and just a slight whiff of leather. In my glass, the nose changes dramatically. This pour’s nose is very light and unassuming. At first pass, I get notes of floral combined with a less sweet but noticeable white grape juice. A gentle swirl allows notes of vanilla, honey, and just a twinge of smokiness. There is a very light hint of tart/acidic malt vinegar. The addition of an ice cube allows the sweetness of honey to be joined by a twang of vinegar. The nose becomes a bit more scotch-esque to me.
Mike: As I draw the bottle to my nose, I detect mild hints of malt vinegar followed by suggestions of prunes. Nosing this whiskey in the Glencairn glass, it is noticeably ethanol forward with a subtle sweetness. Soft hints of white grape juice or wine must emerge then transition to slightly sweetened apple sauce. A second pass reveals a diluted buttercream icing and faint honeysuckle blossoms.
Christian: The mouthfeel on this single malt whiskey is so delicate and soft. As I sip this whiskey I am tasting notes of honey, freshly oiled leather, floral components, and just a touch of simple syrup sweetness. Again, as in the nose, I am tasting just a slight hint of smokiness here. It is in no way overpowering, but definitely present. On the palate, the ice cube takes an already soft and delicate mouthfeel and transitions it to a water-like texture. The sip loses the smoky flavor from before and really has a muted honey and grain forward profile. I think most of the flavor I am experiencing at this point is more from the nose than the actual taste.
Mike: The first sip of this Denali Spirits Single Malt offers up a sprightly and thin mouthfeel. A charge of young whiskey heat surges towards the back of the throat then fades rapidly. Muted notes of leather can be identified, but struggle to maintain their presence. A faint sweetness of fruit cocktail syrup, reminiscent of corn syrup, lingers on the back-end.
Christian: The finish on this single malt whiskey by Denali Spirits is short and dry. The first couple of sips I enjoyed of this spirit packed a punch of heat, but that quickly dissipated with each passing taste leaving more of a warming cinder deep in the chest. The finish here is really nice and flavorful. As I taste, I notice hints of sweet syrup accompanied by fresh hay and melon. It is in the finish that I really do taste the influence of the Oloroso Sherry cask and the oak woodiness from the bourbon casks. Just a hint of stone fruit sneaks in the very back of the palate long after this spirit has been enjoyed. Again, the addition of the ice cube really reduces any heat this pour had. The dryness from the Oloroso Sherry remains and is joined by the bitterness of the American oak. Just a touch of melon remains in the finish.
Mike: This single malt whiskey has a short and quick finish. There is a cozy warmness that has a strong desire to linger in the chest but fades reluctantly. There it is, a delicate undertone of vintage tent canvas that I tend to find in single malts or Scotch offerings, just lingering, almost indistinctly.
Christian: I am impressed with this offering from Denali Spirits in Talkeetna, Alaska. They have produced an extremely approachable and drinkable single malt whiskey. It is easy to see someone sipping this whiskey in the summer when looking for something light, delicate, and thirst quenching. As I sit here sipping again and again, I really do dig this pour. The balance it offers between the sweetness of the honey and vanilla beside the tartness from the maltiness and bite of the oak is really nice. Personally, I don’t see the need to add an ice cube and muddle the overall flavor of this pour, but that is up to your preference. If the opportunity presents itself to try one of the single malt offerings from Denali Spirits I recommend you seize the chance! Thank you, John, for bringing this opportunity to North Carolina from Alaska for us to try!!
Rating: 3.25 Rickhouses
Mike: I was pleasantly surprised by this single malt whiskey. It is simplistic in flavor and overall profile throughout. It is a quite sippable whiskey and rather enjoyable, despite its lack of perceivable depth. The last 2 of 3 reviews have been single malts and I’ve rather enjoyed them. So until you hear me say otherwise, consider me “single malt curious”!
Rating: 2.875 Rickhouses
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