What we’re drinking: Stranahan’s Mountain Angel 10 Year Old
Where it’s from: Stranahan’s is located in Denver, an area that definitely plays into the creation of this unique single-malt release.
Why we’re drinking this: The last time we were at Stranahan’s in 2018, we were profiling Snowflake, the distillery’s annual limited-edition release that had people lining up for a week to buy a bottle. That release was all about the unique cask finishes. This one?
“It’s a very pure expression, just the distillate, oak and time,” explains Stranahan’s Head Distiller Owen Martin, who took over from Rob Dietrich just over a year ago (with that former distiller headed to Metallica’s Blackened whiskey).
For this tasting, we tried the 4-, 7- and now 10-year release — the last one being the only American single malt aged 10 years in new charred American oak casks.
Besides the unadulterated nature of the new release and bringing a big age statement to a nascent booze category (an increasingly recognized but still unofficial category, admittedly), we also love the wide influences that shape Stranahan’s.
“If you drew a line with bourbon on one side and single malt Scotch on the other, I think all of our expressions fall between those two,” says Martin, who also notes that the the area’s dry climate and high altitude — along with the distillery’s craft beer origins (particularly the use of different malts and brewer’s yeast) — play a big factor in the final product.
How it tastes: Martin describes the 10-year as “fruit leather,” and that’s apt. A creamy mouthfeel for sure and some oak on the finish. But the most prevalent note here, both on the nose and palate, is tobacco. It is startlingly different from the 4- and 7-year releases, and could serve as your “whiskey and cigar in the study” end-of-night treat, without need of the cigar.
Fun fact: Mountain Angel is a nod to the extreme angel share loss (up to 80%) during the aging; the dry climate in Colorado means that most of that loss was water, so what little was left in the barrel was very concentrated in flavor.
Where to buy it: It’s $130 for this very limited release. Finding it might require a trip to Colorado (in future years, expect more inventory).
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