American single malt is a hot topic in the world of spirits. While a firm definition of what constitutes a whiskey in this category is still fluid, there are some emerging standards.
American Single Malt Standard of Identity
MADE FROM 100% MALTED BARLEY
DISTILLED ENTIRELY AT ONE DISTILLERY
MASHED, DISTILLED AND MATURED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
MATURED IN OAK CASKS OF A CAPACITY NOT EXCEEDING 700 LITERS
DISTILLED TO NO MORE THAN 160 (U.S.) PROOF (80% ALCOHOL BY VOLUME)
BOTTLED AT 80 (U.S.) PROOF OR MORE (40% ALCOHOL BY VOLUME)
These are being advocated on the industry’s behalf by the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission and we hope that they will be recognized nationally soon.
Our process of making American single malts is unique in that we create a custom grain bill and distill our whiskey at a partner distillery. Our whiskey is then aged, finished, blended and bottled at our Farm in Hood River.
We create different Batches by aging and finishing in different casks; from new American oak – used exclusively for Batch No. 1 – to ex rum – for finishing Batch No.2 – and now port barrels which currently house Batch No. 3.
Once you understand this process, and how Wanderback’s is different than a traditional distillery, you can begin to realize why each of our whiskeys are so unique.
The Single Malt Alliance recently posted about American single malts, and specifically Wanderback. We think it’s an interesting conversation starter if you’re someone like us, who loves to talk about whiskey. Here’s what they had to say:
“Historically, my experience with American single malts been “ok that’s promising”. Wanderback Batch No. 1, however, is the first American single malt I’ve sat down and enjoyed without spending the entire time thinking about how it would taste if it were left in the cask for another 3-5 years. That’s because it’s perfectly good as it is!”
— Single Malt Alliance
“We seem to have entered an exciting time for American single malt producers. In the past few years alone distillers such as Westland Whiskey, Balcones Distilling and Stranahans have certainly stepped up their game. Be it more experience, greater access to matured stock or simply my own awareness of their work, one cannot deny the positive direction that American single malt is heading.
The unique bottle of Wanderback Batch No. 1 was a gift from Drinking Caveman and the inspiration behind this thought. It’s produced using a complex mash bill (they call it grain bill) before being aged in new American oak barrels.
This particular release was distilled at Westland and I have to say, I am rather impressed. It’s bold, rich and spicy yet far more developed than I expected for a single malt aged for just a few years.
Historically, my experience with American single malts been “ok that’s promising”. Youth and optimism has been the name of the game. This Wanderback Batch No. 1, however, is the first American single malt I’ve sat down and enjoyed without spending the entire time thinking about how it would taste if it were left in the cask for another 3-5 years. That’s because it’s perfectly good as it is!”
Do you have an opinion about American single malts? Which ones have you tried? Let’s get a conversation started. For us, there’s nothing better than whiskey banter. Join on on the conversation on Instagram or Facebook.