May 2021 Spirit of the Month--Woody Creek Limited Edition Wheated Bourbon Whiskey
On April 9th I hosted our first Happy Hour with Jeremy featuring Woody Creek Distillery in Colorado. My guest for the event was David Matthew, the Master Distiller at Woody Creek. The event was a lot of fun, we got to try the three whiskies from Woody Creek, and heard stories from David while we enjoyed his libations. While all three were delicious, there was one whiskey that stood out in flavor and in story.
And that would be the Limited Edition Wheated Bourbon Whiskey from Woody Creek.
Now there may be some of you asking, what is a Wheated Bourbon?
Wheated Bourbon is still Bourbon, just with softer characteristics. A Bourbon mash bill is at least 51% corn, typically 70%-80%, along with barley (used to convert starches to sugar which are eaten by the yeast) and flavoring grains rye and wheat. While rye gives Bourbon a little kick of spice, wheat, the more neutral grain, allows the corn and oak characteristics to shine.
In Wheated Bourbons, that mash bill has a higher percentage of wheat, usually between 10-15%; Woody Creek’s Wheated Bourbon is at 12.5%.
The best known Wheated Bourbon is Maker’s Mark. If you’re familiar with the more caramel and vanilla-forward flavor profile of Maker’s, you have a good example of what Wheated Bourbon is. But after trying the Woody Creek’s Wheated Bourbon, you’ll have the best example of what Wheat Bourbon can be.
Caramel coats the palate, along with toasted vanilla that adds to the decadence of this grain-to-barrel Bourbon. Light notes of rye help in allowing you to distinguish all the richness (vanilla and cocoa), andnthat little bit of spice cuts down on the sweetness to balance out the taste profile nicely.
Part of what made me really get into this Bourbon is the story behind it! This Limited Edition Wheated Bourbon was originally planned to be the mash bill for Woody Creek’s Bourbon. But one of the tricks with a product you have to age is, you have to wait. 18-24 months into aging, David wasn’t impressed with what he was tasting. He decided to start from square one and switch out the wheat for rye, which is what you can find in Woody Creek’s Colorado Bourbon on our shelves.
As I mentioned before, and this is something we all can agree on; aging is tricky. In the words of David himself; “barrels just don’t go away”. About 4 years after he had tried the original Bourbon mash bill barrels, he went back and was pleasantly surprised with what he was tasting. “Pleasantly surprised” was an interesting thing to hear David say when referring to the Wheated Bourbon because I heard from multiple people who were part of the Zoom event say they, too, were “pleasantly surprised” by the Wheated Bourbon.
So join my Zoom guest, The Master Distiller himself and me in being pleasantly surprised in Woody Creek’s Wheated Bourbon.