How do you celebrate the three month anniversary of finishing chemotherapy? If you are my wife, you hike up a mountain in Colorado. And how do you celebrate making it all the way up? Well, you visit a nearby distillery, take a tour and buy a bottle of whiskey that you can’t get at home.
There are a lot of reasons I love my wife, but those two things might make it near the top of my list.
There haven’t been many times in my life that I’ve been standing on the ground at over 10,000 feet above sea level. That might have been the first time I walked there.
The distillery we visited afterward was Stranahan’s in Denver. The tale on the website is that it was founded by George Stranahan, the founder of Flying Dog Brewery and a firefighter as they bonded over Stranahan’s barn fire. It’s an unusual tale, and it may even be true, who knows. Now they are owned by Proximo Spirits out of New Jersey. Better known as the distributor of Jose Cuervo and brand owner of Three Olives Vodka and Kraken Rum.
I’d heard good things about the whiskey and the tour and tasting was fun enough that I didn’t feel too bad about buying a bottle. It comes in a very tall narrow bottle with a bright yellow label that wraps around it at a severe angle. It’s pretty distinctive. And once you have one on your shelf, you’ll notice it whenever it appears. In odd places like the Showtime show House of Lies where it seems to be Don Cheadle’s drink of choice.
But the proof, as they say, is in the whiskey.
Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey
Purchase info: ~$60 for a 750 mL at the distillery
Details: Batch #95, 47% ABV, 2 years old
Nose: very grain forward with just hints of oak, cinnamon and citrus pith
Mouth: Starts with a rough alcohol burn. Cooked cereal, brown sugar. It’s sweeter than I expected and tastes very new-makey.
Finish: the finish is nice and long, but fades to bitter really quickly
Thoughts: Water helps this, but even with that, I don’t like this one. There’s nothing wrong with it that age wouldn’t fix. But for just about $60, I don’t want a fixer-upper. Add in the fact that this is malt whiskey in virgin oak barrels and you can guess that further age might kill it. Maybe they should switch to used barrels, more time and a lower proof? I don’t know. I’d avoid this one unless you love young whiskey and have too much money on your hands. Otherwise? Don't bother.