Classification: American Single Malt Aged in Ex-Rye American Oak Barrels, Finished in Cabernet Sauvignon Casks
Company: Hogback Distillery
Distillery: Hogback Distillery
Release Date: October 2022
Age: NAS (Website states 4 years with 6 additional months finishing in cabernet sauvignon casks)
Mashbill: 100% Scottish Peated Malted Barley
Color: Dark Caramel
MSRP: $175 (2022)
Blackcurrant | Lemon | Peat | Caramel popcorn | Unique & delightful
Raspberries | Fresh baked bread | Peach | Rye spice
Milk chocolate | Mellow peat | Light licorice | Smoke
An American single malt with Scottish roots, this high proof peated single malt brings the heat but also grace.
Outside of the Pacific Northwest, Colorado is becoming a hotbed for the American single malt scene. Adding to the ranks is Hogback Distillery located in Boulder. A writer and reviewer of Scotch whisky, Graeme Wallace left Scotland in 2016 and moved to Colorado to start his own distillery. Named after the Dakota Hogback Ridge that runs along the entire length of the Colorado Rockies, Wallace makes whiskey in the Scottish style with an American touch. Located next to Vapor Distillery, they utilize Vapor’s 1300 gallon copper pot still from Scotland, source their peated barley from Scotland, and utilize a tried-and-true Scottish technique of blending whiskeys aged in second use barrels.
Hogback’s Wallace Collection is their high end whiskey line and often involves more complex blended whiskey components. Barrel #14 is the collection’s first peated single malt (previous releases were 100% malted barley from the U.S.). The single malt was aged in ex-rye barrels for 4 years before resting an additional 2 years in cabernet sauvignon casks. Two things that jump out at first sip: the whiskey’s proof and its approachableness. Combined, they allow the whiskey to somehow find a middle ground of potency and gentleness in the same sip. Its peat and cabernet sauvignon finish are far from overbearing and are well incorporated with its heat. It pulls from its American heritage by bringing the proof, but also its Scottish side by knowing how to control it.
Hogback Wallace Collection Peated Malt Whisky Barrel #14 is surprisingly elegant given its proof and it has gotten me curious about what else Hogback Distillery is capable of.