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Colkegan Single Malt American Whiskey (750ml)
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- ABV 46%
Santa Fe Spirits is owned by an English expat, Colin Kegan, from whom the brand's name is derived. Just like Scotch Single Malt, this whisky is produced from 100% malted barley and aged (largely) in used bourbon barrels. Being subject to New Mexico's arid climate, the elevated warehouses experience significant fluctuations in temperature and humidity, which tends to accelerate the aging process. Up to 40% is lost to evaporation during the maturation period.The major point of difference for this whisky lies in the kilning process: 30% of the barley used is dried using a mesquite fire. Mesquite refers to wood sourced from small desert shrubs. It's actually one of the more expensive lumbers in the U.S and a mature tree can fetch thousands of dollars. It was a popular ship building material for the early Spaniards, but it's now most commonly used for high end rustic furniture. The smokey flavour mesquite imparts is nothing like peat, but like its Scottish counterparts, it can add amazing complexity to the finished spirit. Tasting note: [Batch 5 tasted] Bright gold with some minor sediment evident. Fascinating aromatics shift from white chocolate to smokey vanilla to sweet pipe tobacco. Later inhalations reveal drier notes of flourless orange cake and even mezcal. Silky, light-cream mouthfeel evolves flavours of minted white chocolate, lavender and a restrained, smokey vanilla-slice finish that's countered by buzzing spice and drying oak; closes feather-light, lingering and delicate with a subtle white chocolate, sponge cake and salty mezcal fade. A one of a kind, cross-genre malt that will have you guessing from start to finish! 46% Alc./Vol. Other reviews... [March 26th, 2015] The Ultimate Spirits Challenge (USC) judges gave the whiskey a coveted “Excellent, Highly Recommend” along with the 94 (of 100) point rating. The rating makes Colkegan the second ranked American whiskey. “The smoke is obvious, but it’s a sweeter and meatier smoke than one gets from peated whiskies. The spirit shines through a bit more in the mouth, then the smoke comes back and finally the… finish cleans the palate for the next sip.” Sweet malt, old fruit pastilles (less intense), and subtle mesquite smoke. Unlike some craft smoked whiskeys, this doesn’t grab you by the throat; it’s enticing. Bigger on the tongue, but still not overwhelming, and there’s some dark, spicy chocolate and pepper coming out. 86 points - www.maltadvocate.com (Winter 2014) Reviewed by: Lew Bryson