Patty Green Whiskey Distillers Purple Karma Pinnacle


Classification: Other Specialties & Proprietaries

Company: Patty Green Cellars

Distillery: Sourced from Die the Wolf Distillery (formerly known as Dogwood Distilling)

Release Date: January 2024

Proof: 112

Age: NAS

Mashbill: Blend of 80% Purple Karma Barley Distillate (100% Malted Barley) and 20% Pinot Noir Brandy (100% Pinot Noir Grapes)

Color: Dark Copper

MSRP: $200 / 750mL (2024)

Official Website

Press Release

Patty Green Whiskey was created through an unfortunate event that happened to the Oregon-based Patricia Green Cellars vineyard in 2020. Wildfires ravaged the West Coast, and the company was left with a smoke-tainted harvest of their pinot noir grapes. As the saying goes, “when life hands you a lemon, turn it into lemonade,” and while the company didn’t produce lemonade, they used those smoke-tainted grapes to produce pinot noir brandy. This brandy is blended with malted barley to form Purple Karma Pinnacle.

The company states that they consider the brandy as replacing a traditional corn distillate in the blend. The malted barley used is named Purple Karma Pinnacle, which is an ancient Himalayan landrace variety that is only grown in Oregon, and like its name suggests, is purple in color. Additionally, the company states that “this was aged 2+ years in re-purposed Pinot Noir barrels. We are specifically NOT doing the thing that’s quite trendy now to finish spirits in a wine barrel (or, god forbid, the other way around). These barrels have the heads removed and then are sanded down to remove all traces of wine. Wine only penetrates about 3\8th inch into oak staves so this is quite possible. The barrel is then re-toasted to wine barrel specifications. It is then charred to whiskey barrel levels. The two barrels this whiskey were in were #3 char.

Patty Green Whiskey is an homage to Oregon. “First, though, it is important to note that these whiskeys are 100% Oregon products. All the grains were sourced locally as Oregon is a grain growing region just as it is a grape growing area of international renown. The distillery we contract with to do the distilling is located in Forest Grove and in 2022 Jim Anderson, Matty Russell and Steve & Cheryl Mozinski, purchased it in conjunction with the distiller, Lynsee Sardell. All the barrels used are either repurposed Patricia Green Cellars barrels or barrels made from Oregon oak made by cooperages here in Oregon specifically for whiskey aging.” Anderson describes more details on the backstory and the acquisition of the distillery in a fascinating series of posts on WineBerserkers.


The sip opens with its core base components shining through, which consist of youthful grain and grapes, specifically, white grape juice, which was unexpected considering the grape type used in the brandy. Moving past those brings about a pleasing sweet aroma of syrup, along with new oak and a faint white peppercorn note. While it carries an overall youthfulness to it along with a hint of ethanol, the scents work well together and present an adequate opening that is the highlight of the sip.


The graininess found in the nose carries over with a strong malted barley presence. Light baking chocolate and a hint of the pinot noir brandy mingle, however, its inclusion is not as forthright as you might expect it to be. A dab of white peppercorn spice adds slight intrigue. The party is short-lived, as a distracting dry tannic oak note takes over and shoves the surrounding notes off to the side. The youthfulness of the blend is clearest here, as additional time in barrels would presumably smooth things out and add much-needed depth.


Chewy malted barley is immediately noticeable and rises above all the other flavors. The dryness from the palate also carries over and helps enhance the focus of the toasted oak and slight leather notes that are present. A faint white peppercorn note adds a smidge of spice. The other notes quickly fade away, leaving a dry, lingering, chewy malted barley in place. The result is a finish that is incredibly long, ensuring that a single glass lasts a while. Like the midpoint, the ending can’t compete with how this sip kicks off.


Wine-finished whiskeys are certainly not a new concept, as they’ve seemed to dominate the conversation when it comes to barrel-finished bourbons. Directly adding a brandy distilled from grapes that were originally destined for pinot noir wine, however, is something you don’t see every day. That’s not to say there haven’t been blends of whiskey with other spirits. A recent example that comes to mind is the second release of Fortuitous Union blends. While that release saw both good and not-so-good batches, there was no denying that it was certainly unique, and the same holds true for Patty Green Whiskey Distillers Purple Karma Pinnacle.

Its origin is hard-pressed to be anything but one of the most unique backstories in recent times. From the creation of the pinot noir brandy that was used as a corn substitute to utilizing an oft-used malted barley, the unique way the barrels were reused, and also the fact that the contract distillation ended with the purchase of the actual distillery. The blend of whiskey and pinot noir brandy produces a result that tastes as interesting as it sounds. While it’s not an incoherent sip, it certainly produces an overall body of work that isn’t cohesive throughout from a flavor perspective. Don’t misconstrue uniqueness for drinkability, but do take the time to acknowledge when something colors outside the lines and pushes boundaries, which is exactly what Patty Green Whiskey Distillers Purple Karma Pinnacle does.


Innovation comes at a cost, and new craft entrants into the whiskey space usually price their products high. While this is often expected, there is still some expectation that the end result can somewhat come close to justifying the price. In Patty Green Whiskey Distillers Purple Karma Pinnacle’s case, that mark is nowhere close to being met for the MSRP that this bottle carries. There’s no way to sugarcoat this one, $200 is an absurd amount for the end product.

I respect the fact that the company wanted to stand out by utilizing its pinot noir brandy versus just creating a 100% American single malt. Yet, while it may have a great backstory and taken innovative risks, the end result is a below-average pour that doesn’t come close to justifying its asking price. Craft products will usually carry a higher price tag, but at its current price, Patty Green Whiskey Distillers Purple Karma Pinnacle comes across as way overpriced, plain and simple.


Innovation at its finest, Patty Green Whiskey Distillers Purple Karma Pinnacle, is far from perfect, but its backstory is one that few can compete against.

Overall, this is far from a stellar first showing for a whiskey company launching its first product. While its technical TTB classification is “other specialties & proprietaries,” it was clear that this was meant to compete with other whiskeys, especially when you consider the fact that the brand used their pinot noir brandy in substitution of a corn grain that you’d find in a majority of American whiskey. It comes across as youthful in many areas, and rightfully so since the malted whiskey component is. But at the same time, it provides interesting enough flavors to help overcome being written off as just a young whiskey blend. While this is a boutique blend with an interesting story, there’s no way around the fact that the MSRP isn’t in line with the end result. This will be a whiskey product that appeals to a select few, mainly whiskey lovers who are also oenophiles and are more interested in the origin story of Patty Green Whiskey Distillers Purple Karma Pinnacle than the end result itself.

The sample used for this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy its respective company. We thank them for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.
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Written By: Jordan Moskal

March 8, 2024
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