Whiskey tasting: The Whiskey that You Should Give a Try If You're Looking for a Unique Whiskey
A small but brilliant group of American distilleries makes wheat whiskey, and Laws Whiskey House is a member of that exclusive club.
The first thing you need to know about Pappy fans is that if you corner them, or perhaps they corner you, they’ll extol the virtues of wheat in their favorite whiskey. Using wheat in a recipe is generally thought to provide a sweeter taste to a party, a taste that is common to fans of wheated bourbons such as Pappy Van Winkle and Maker's Mark, which use wheat as a secondary flavoring grain rather than rye.
There is a whiskey that is more of a main event than a supporting act when it comes to wheat, as it makes up at least 51 percent of the mashbill of the whiskey, even though it is less common here in the States compared to bourbon and rye. In spite of notable examples such as Woodford Reserve Wheat Whiskey, Bernheim Original and Dry Fly Straight Wheat Whiskey, the number of American wheat whiskeys remains relatively low.
In addition to Laws Whiskey House, another distillery that belongs to this club is Laws Whiskey House, which released its Bonded Centennial Straight Wheat Whiskey recently (the first version was released in 2018). It has been a decade since Laws began distilling and ageing whiskey, and each batch of whiskey is made by distillers and ages themselves using grains grown on farms that have a longstanding relationship with Laws.
This is a very interesting craft distillery that is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. There are some noteworthy features in this new wheat whiskey that make it a captivating and unique sipping experience. It is important to mention that the mash bill of this beer does not just contain a majority of wheat, but is 100 percent soft white centennial wheat grown at Cody Family Farm and Colorado Malting Company, located in southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley.
The distillery claims that this heirloom variety of wheat makes a “soft and floral whiskey,” but we’ll get to the tasting notes in a bit. There is only one distillery and one distilling season in which this whiskey was distilled, but it was aged for at least four years in barrels made of 53-gallon charred oak. As you can see from the name, this is a bottled-in-bond whiskey, which means that it only comes from one distillery and one distilling season.
As far as the flavor profile of Bonded Centennial Straight Wheat Whiskey is concerned, it is very different from those of some of the other examples you may have encountered previously. You will immediately notice that anise is among the first notes you are greeted with, followed by a soft woodiness and some baking spice, though not with the sharper edge associated with rye in the mash bill.
There are also some sweet apricot and vanilla notes on the palate, and the drink finishes lightly despite its high alcohol content. As this is a whiskey that has been aged for quite some time in full-sized barrels, it does not have that young wood aroma and taste that is often present in craft products that are younger and are aged in smaller barrels while this whiskey has been aged in full-sized barrels.
If you're hankering for bourbon, this will definitely not replace it, but that's not what we're trying to achieve. A highball is one of the recommended ways to use this unconventional whiskey in a cocktail. According to the distillery's website, it is recommended to try it as part of a highball. This one should be sipped on its own, at least at first (keeping in mind you should drink your whiskey any damn way you want to). Laws distillery has long been known for its skill and thoughtfulness, and I have found that this is apparent in every blend that I've tasted from them so far. Only 14 barrels from the distillery were dumped for this bottling, so grab one while you can to see what the wheat does for you.