Whiskey Del Bac, Dorado. 45% ABV. Non-chill filtered.
A dear friend gave me a unique gift during a visit this year. A bottle of Wiskey Del Bac from Hamilton Distillers in Tucson, Arizona. As I near the bottom of the bottle, I am overdue in writing my tasting notes. The bottle notes state that they malt their barley “over a velvet Mesquite fire” and mature the whisky in small batch using American oak barrels.
On the nose, the smoke comes forward immediately. In one sense, it is a bit like my first impression of the smoke on the nose of Talisker whisky. Yet, it is not the same smoke, there is no ambiguity regarding the mesquite origins. On first sip, it is certainly mesquite-dominant, quickly bringing to mind a barbeque, and probably what influences my impression of the flavor of peppered sweet-jerky. On subsequent sips, I find semi-sweet elements, mostly vanilla, perhaps a bit of carmelization. The finish is medium length, warm, with the mesquite smoke enveloping the other flavors. As the smoke retreats, I find a dried cherry flavor on the back of the finish. It is a well balanced and smooth whisky.
This is a very fun, unique whisky. I really enjoy it. I would not attempt to compare it to any particular single malt scotch. The parallel I would draw is one of a good quality young whisky. I find that the mesquite smoke imparts a flavor profile that is unique, distinct from the peated expressions I typically enjoy.
It is a whisky that I like neat. I suspect that some have found creative ways to use this distinctive flavor profile in cocktails, but that would not be my preference. Either way, if you like whisky and can find a bottle, I recommend giving it a try.