Wanderback Batch No. 1
I recently read about the Wanderback Whiskey in Oregon and decided that I had better find a way to get a bottle of their single malt whiskey. While living in Nebraska means there are few local options for accessing small batch whiskey, it does happen to be one of the few states to where whiskey may be shipped legally. After a bit of searching from leads on the Wanderback.com website, I found a source for a bottle of Wanderback Batch No. 1.
Wanderback Batch No. 1 is the product of a collaboration between Wanderback Whiskey and the Westland Distillery in Seattle. Batch No. 1 was distilled at the Westland Distillery using a combination of four barley malts (88% of which is local Washington Pale malt). At the Wanderback Whiskey facility in Hood River, Oregon, Batch No. 1 was aged a minimum of three years in toasted/charred American oak barrels, and then blended and bottled at 45% ABV.
The result is a golden honey colored whiskey that is a delight to sip. On the nose, I sense a whisp of smoke, along with spices and fruit. On the palate, there is a toffee base with mild spice and hints of chocolate. An undercurrent of smoke adds to the very pleasing balance of this whisky. The finish is moderately long, dry, with the spice and smoke lingering.
This is an excellent whiskey, perfect for sipping neat.
I am impressed with what is being done with some relatively youthful American single malts, and I would certainly place Wanderback’s Batch No. 1 among the best I have had the pleasure to sample. I appear to not be alone in my assessment, as this whiskey was the winner of a 2018 double gold medal from The American Distilling Institute.
What is discouraging is that this is a limited production bottling (a little over 2,000 bottles), so Wanderback Batch No. 1 will not occupy a permanent spot in the whisky/whiskey cabinet. But, the encouraging news is that Wanderback has already produced Batch No. 2 & No. 3. The Wanderback approach to fine whiskey production is to create new variations in the expression of each release.
I look forward to having the opportunity to sample and post my notes on the next two Wanderback offerings. If they are anything like the first, it will be a fun journey.
P.S. Both Wanderback Batch No. 2 and Wanderback Batch No. 3 have been ordered and are due to arrive early in 2020.