After my last post on Craft Distilleries I felt it was only right to do my next review on a craft whiskey so for the tenth review on this blog we’ll be looking at Corsair’s Triple Smoke. Corsair is a craft distillery out of Nashville, TN with another distillery in Kentucky and have become known in the American whiskey scene for their use of alternative grains. Master Distiller, Darek Bell has even written a recipe type book on alternative grains called Alt Whiskeys. Instead sticking to traditional corn, rye and barley Bell and his team have experimented with quinoa and triticale whiskey and have even put out a 9 and 12 grain bourbon. But it is Triple Smoke that has given them worldwide acclaim, taking this year’s Artisan Whiskey of the Year in Whisky Advocate.
Triple Smoke is a pot distilled malt whiskey that is smoked with peat, cherry wood and beechwood. Where the traditional Scotch whiskey is just peated, Corsair has added the cherry and beechwood in hopes of achieving a more complex profile. Triple Smoke is a small batch whiskey and this particular bottle is from batch #87 and bottle #741.
Appearance: Golden amber with slow-moving legs
Nose: The peat is front and center on this one. The cherry flickers in and out like a lighting bug flickering on a summer evening. In the mix there is a beautiful custard and creamy vanilla scent along with hints of light oak and caramel all to help add to the sweetness of this bouquet. There is also a faint bread like scent to this one and not even a hint of alcohol. The layers of this whiskey continue to open up as leathery scent begins to emerge. Triple Smoke passes the nosing process with flying colors, just a top-notch bouquet on this.
Palate: At first sip the creamy vanilla/custard duo grabbed my attention. The peat follows but is not in any way shape or form over bearing. Blended perfectly. There is an almond type nutty flavor that seems to be present as well. The mouth feel has good density to it, although not as thick as some heavy aged Bourbons but still is very nice. The finish gives a bang of peat, cherry and some peppery spice flavor with a good amount of heat but unfortunately fades rather quick.
Overall: While I usually approach experimental whiskeys with a certain hesitation all feelings of reproach are gone the minute I take my first sip of Triple Smoke. The level of complexity Corsair was able to develop with its cherry and beechwood smoke is fantastic. The nose and palate are in perfect delicious harmony. At 80 proof it is rather light, especially to those high-proof fans, but the balance and depth make up for it. The only downside to this was the finish and again at just 80 proof you weren’t going to be able to match that warmth and flavor intensity you get from some high-proof whiskeys. But if your skeptical about craft whiskeys and need proof that the little guys can make a quality product go out and get yourself a bottle of this
Rating: 90 / * * * *