This week, we’re reviewing Wyoming Whiskey, a craft whiskey that claims to be from the first legal distillery operating in Wyoming since prohibition. Following a trend of craft spirits, the whiskey is made from “all locally sourced ingredients,” including mountain spring water (sourced from the nearby Big Horn Basin). Its mash is corn, wheat and malted barley.
After the initial stages of distilling, the whiskey is aged for five years in new, white oak charred barrels, just as you would expect from a true Kentucky bourbon or Tennessee whiskey. It is bottled at 44 ABV, in honor of Wyoming being the 44th state admitted to the union (88 proof). The whiskey is supposed to be evocative of the Old West, and as such, begs to be drunk straight from a shot glass – no frills. In practice, this is a whiskey you can sip and enjoy slowly in a classic cocktail, but we recommend you enjoy it straight or neat.
Nose: The first hit you get on the nose of this whiskey is that it is slightly sweet, like a true bourbon. There are hints of caramel and vanilla, even a slight bit of nutmeg. Overall, it’s very pleasant.
Palate: The first flavor note is its light sweetness with very floral strong floral notes. The texture is light with very slight oiliness. After the initial sweetness there are strong notes of the same caramel and vanilla we caught hints of in the nose. It finishes smoothly with flavors of licorice, spice and oak with the vanilla flavors lingering on the palate.
Overall grade: A-. This whiskey was a pleasant surprise. When one thinks of a western whiskey, it’s easy to just think of it as a shooting whiskey with a strong bite and bitter aftertaste. Wyoming Whiskey has neither of these. It is as about as sophisticated as it gets when it comes to American mash whiskeys.
You cannot think of Wyoming Whiskey as a true bourbon, however, since it simply isn’t. It is distilled and aged far from central Kentucky, and has a more complex mash that affords it a more complex flavor. Bourbons are generally made from corn mash, maybe with the addition of some rye, maybe with some barley. This is made with corn, wheat and malted barley, all grown out west in different conditions than you can expect in Kentucky.
In combination with the mountain snowmelt spring water, the profile is very different from a true bourbon. It’s quite unique – unique characteristics and a unique character – and, quite literally, in a class by itself, on another level from most micro-distilleries.