Founder’s Reserve EG HH10 is our first ever cask-strength, single barrel, American single malt whiskey. It is special, rare and, in our opinion, very, very good. We can take credit for some factors – the bespoke mashbill, excellent distillation partner and quality barrel maturation, but not all; chance also had a major role to play in creating this dram.
In 2018, during a barrel reorganization, Phil (Wanderback’s Founder and Chief Whiskey Maker) discovered a solo new-oak cask from our Evergreen distillation run with Westland Distillery. She was tucked into a corner of the basement of the barn mixed in with, and hidden from view by, barrels from our maturing Lone Star collection.
Pulling her out from the dark corner, Phil felt a mixture of intrepidation and excitement. This whiskey had mistakenly spent extra time in the new oak cask – the rest of the run had been transferred into finishing casks a year prior. He’d read stories of distillers finding rare and wonderful casks – could this be a special “Founder’s” whiskey or would it be over oaked and astringent?
The first nose, followed by a dram drawn with the barrel thief, immediately revealed to Phil how special the whiskey inside it could be. Spending additional time in the new oak cask created stronger oak notes but the malt notes were still very present, and Phil felt that time in a used bourbon barrel would produce a nicely balanced, very smooth, cask-strength whiskey.
Enter HH10, a previously-used bourbon barrel from Heaven Hills Distillery. On the outside, it looks no different to the other Heaven Hills’ barrels we use. But, having had extremely positive influence on other whiskeys, there is no doubt that there is something very magical about this cask. Phil felt sure it was the correct choice to house his special Founder’s Reserve.
Over the next few years, Phil faced the hardest challenge… doing nothing! Maturing in the previously-used bourbon barrel HH10 rounded, sharper edges and added a distinct velvety smoothness and each month the whiskey tasted better and better.
As the whiskey passed the six-year-age statement, he decided it was time to bottle. Yielding 209 bottles from HH10, each bottle of Founder’s Reserve is hand filled, labelled and signed by Phil. We hope you enjoy this rare and special whiskey.
FOUNDER’S RESERVE TASTING NOTES
Nose: Salted caramel, followed by cocoa powder, whole grain bread, maple syrup, hints of oak and orange pith.
Palate: Rich and oily mouthfeel with a cinnamon and clove spiciness that lingers in a long finish. A few drops of water bring forth a dark, molasses sweetness.
Overview: This dynamic single cask highlights the dark and spicy notes from our unique grain bill and years spent in a new American oak cask. It’s a dark gingersnap cookie to warm you from the inside.